New Symbol for Rupee for India

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India wants to assert its national identity domestically and internationally in many different ways. In recent years:

  • The country has expressed pride in being invited to join the G20 group, but it really wants to be a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council (only five countries enjoy that privilege)
  • It has sent spacecraft to the moon and conducted nuclear explosions to join two other exclusive international clubs.
  • It’s companies have asserted themselves in the country of its former ruler, the United Kingdom, by buying the former British Steel (Corus) and the car that the Queen rides in (Land Rover).

Therefore it was no surprise to me when Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee announced the government of India’s intent to create a new unique symbol for the Indian Rupee. To India the $ is one expression of American dominance in the world. The symbols for the British Pound, and the Japanese Yen invoke the past glories of two other countries and the Eurozone asserted itself most recently with its own symbol.

Rupee Symbol candidates

Possible Rupee Symbols

The images above are some of the examples submitted in a contest open to Indian citizens. The hope is that the chosen symbol will be used by financial publications such as the Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times and eventually will make its way onto personal computer keyboards and font sets. At the very least it will be reflected on Indian currency notes printed in the future.

Shortlist of Rupee Symbols

Five finalists for Rupee symbol

The whole issue may seem flip to some, but India is taking it quite seriously. The final choice among these candidates is being made at the very highest level, at the Indian Prime Minister’s  Cabinet level on Thursday.

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Posted on by Gunjan Bagla
Gunjan Bagla
California-based management consultant Gunjan Bagla runs Amritt, a consulting firm helping American companies to succeed in India. Amritt is the trusted advisor for India market research, India business development, India market entry, Global Engineering, Global Technology Scouting, India R&D and Open Innovation. Gunjan is author of "Business in 21st Century India: How to Profit Today from Tomorrow’s Most Exciting Market" (Hachette Book Group, 2008), Amazon's top rated title on the subject. He has appeared as the India Expert on BBC Television, Bloomberg TV, Fox Cable Business and has been quoted in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Hollywood Reporter and Business Week for his expertise on India.


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