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India gives new identity to its rupee

By Harmeet Shah Singh, CNN
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Indian Rupee gets a symbol
  • India designates unique symbol to represent its currency, the rupee
  • The move is to "highlight the strength and robustness of the Indian economy"
  • The new symbol will help distinguish the Indian currency

New Delhi, India (CNN) -- India approved a distinct symbol for its currency, the rupee, Thursday, joining the league of currencies identifiable by their unique signs.

Up to this point, the Indian rupee has been denoted by "Rs" or the abbreviation INR.

The new symbol, which looks like an R in Hindi, with an intersecting horizontal line, was selected after a public contest involving 3,000 designs, Ambika Soni, India's information and broadcasting minister, said.

The move to give to its currency a new recognition stems from the country's economic growth, the minister said.

"The symbol for the rupee would lend a distinctive character and identity to the currency and further highlight the strength and robustness of the Indian economy as also a favored destination for global investments," Soni said.

She also noted that the symbol would help distinguish the Indian rupee from the namesake currencies of several other nations like Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka.

Apart from citing her country's rapid integration with the global economy as a reason for adopting a symbol for the Indian rupee, Soni also noted the cultural importance to the new currency, because of its resemblance to Hindi's R.

The symbol "reflects and captures the Indian ethos and culture," she said.

One of the world's few growth markets after the global recession, India expects its gross domestic product to grown 8.5 percent in 2010-11, despite being faced with a consolidated fiscal deficit of 8.4 percent.