The Cabinet on Thursday approved a symbol for the rupee that elegantly combines Devanagiri and Roman scripts to signify the rising strength, ambition and spread of the country's currency in a fast globalising economy.
"The distinct symbol denotes the robustness of the Indian economy," Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni said, announcing the cabinet decision.
The rupee, introduced as a silver coin for transactions by emperor Sher Shah Suri — who built the Grand Trunk road in the 16th century — was only two decades ago largely unrecognised in global markets, but now joins an elite club of symbol-endowed national currencies that include the US dollar, the British pound, the euro and the Japanese yen.
Computer keyboards will now need a rupee key akin to the dollar. Price tags will be reformatted.
But there are no plans to introduce the symbol in new currency notes immediately.
"There will be no change (in currency notes) overnight. It will be a long drawn process," a senior Reserve Bank of Indian (RBI) official told HT.
The symbol designed by D Udaya Kumar, who has just joined the faculty of the Department of Design at IIT Guwahati, was selected from more than 3,000 entries that were evaluated by a jury of experts, government and RBI officials.
"My design is based on the tricolour with two lines at the top and white space in between. I wanted the symbol for the rupee to represent the Indian flag," said Kumar.
The new symbol had been designed keeping in mind the ease with which it can be incorporated into the existing software systems.