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Rupee gets symbol on par with dollar, pound

The new symbol of the Indian rupee is seen in this handout photograph after it was approved by India's cabinet July 15, 2010. REUTERS/Press Information Bureau of India/Handout

MUMBAI (Reuters) - The Indian rupee has achieved parity with major currencies such as the dollar, euro, pound sterling and yen in one respect: it now has its own symbol.

The cabinet on Thursday approved the adoption of the new symbol after holding a competition that drew more than 3,000 entries, which were evaluated by a deputy governor of the central bank as well as artists and designers.

The new symbol, an amalgam of the devanagari script of the Hindi language and the Roman letter “R”, “reflects and captures the Indian ethos and culture”, the cabinet said in a statement.

“The symbol for the rupee would lend a distinctive character and identity to the currency,” it said, and better distinguish the currency from countries that also have the rupee or rupiah, including Nepal, Sri Lanka and Indonesia.

The winning design, pulled from a shortlist of five, came from a post-graduate student who won $5,000.

(Reporting by Tony Munroe and Rina Chandran; Editing by Ranjit Gangadharan)

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