India announced on Friday a contest to design a global symbol for the rupee so that the currency can join the likes of the US dollar and the yen which already have their own identifiable symbols.
The new symbol will be the "identity of the Indian currency," a finance ministry statement said.
"Major world currencies like the US dollar, pound, yen and euro have an identification symbol. The government of India is also proposing to have a symbol for the rupee," finance ministry official BS Rawat told AFP.
"The symbol for the Indian rupee is to be selected through a public competition" that closes on April 15, Rawat said.
The currency is at present denoted simply by "Rs" or "INR" which is short for Indian rupee.
But Rawat said these were not "symbols" but "abbreviations" for the word rupee and hence the contest that is open to artists who are "resident Indians."
Guidelines for the contest listed on the finance ministry website stipulate the "symbol should represent the historical and cultural ethos of India."
"Entries can be in any of India's national languages or English which is an accepted language of use by the government," Rawat said.
Rules also say the "symbol should be applicable to the standard computer keyboard."
The winning design will be chosen by a seven-member jury drawn from major art institutions, said the finance ministry.
The winning designer will get a 250,000-rupee (5,000-dollar) prize and will have to surrender the copyright of the design to the government, the finance ministry said.
The design would likely start be used only after a new government comes to power in India after the April 16-May 13 national polls, officials said.