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Central banks are a relatively recent innovation and most central banks, as we know them today, were established around the early twentieth century. The Reserve Bank of India was set up on the basis of the recommendations of the Hilton Young Commission. The Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934 (II of 1934) provides the statutory basis of the functioning of the Bank, which commenced operations on April 1, 1935. The Bank was constituted to
Regulate the issue of banknotes Maintain reserves with a view to securing monetary stability and To operate the credit and currency system of the country to its advantage.
The Bank began its operations by taking over from the Government the functions so far being performed by the Controller of Currency and from the Imperial Bank of India, the management of Government accounts and public debt. The existing currency offices at Calcutta, Bombay, Madras, Rangoon, Karachi, Lahore and Cawnpore (Kanpur) became branches of the Issue Department. Offices of the Banking Department were established in Calcutta, Bombay, Madras, Delhi and Rangoon. Burma (Myanmar) seceded from the Indian Union in 1937 but the Reserve Bank continued to act as the Central Bank for Burma till Japanese Occupation of Burma and later up to April, 1947. After the partition of India, the Reserve Bank served as the central bank of Pakistan up to June 1948 when the State Bank of Pakistan commenced operations. The Bank, which was originally set up as a shareholder's bank, was nationalized in 1949. An interesting feature of the Reserve Bank of India was that at its very inception, the Bank was seen as playing a special role in the context of development, especially Agriculture. When India commenced its plan endeavors, the development role of the Bank came into focus, especially in the sixties when the Reserve Bank, in many ways, pioneered the concept and practice of using finance to catalyze development. The Bank was also instrumental in institutional development and helped set up institutions like the Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee Corporation of India, the Unit Trust of India, the Industrial Development Bank of India, the National Bank of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Discount and Finance House of India etc. to build the financial infrastructure of the country. With liberalization, the Bank's focus has shifted back to core central banking functions like Monetary Policy, Bank Supervision and Regulation, and Overseeing the Payments System and onto developing the financial markets.
1 Issue notes: The reserve bank of India enjoys monopoly in the issue of currency notes as Central Bank of the Country. All the currency notes except one rupee are issued by RBI. The reserve Bank. as the agent of the Government. 2. In case of need of funds. It also does not pay any interest on the deposits of the central and state Government accounts. Now. in the matters of agriculture credit. The RBI is also authorized to make to the central and state Government. The RBI also issues treasury bills of Government for three months. agent and advisor to the Government of India. commercial banks always look upon the Reserve Bank at the Time of financial crisis. cooperation. The RBI does not charge any fee for its operation from the Central and state Governments. managing foreign exchange reserves and public debts and other banking operation. It also manages public debts to the central and state Governments. it becomes entitled to refinance facility from the RBI. Under the RBI Act. Once the name of a bank is incorporated in the second schedule of the RBI Act.2 Banker. Under the act. the bank has been vested with extensive powers of supervision and control over all scheduled commercial and cooperative banks.3 Banker’s Bank: As an apex bank the RBI acts as banker of the banks and lender of the last resort. 2. Agent and advisor to the Government: The reserve bank of India acts as the banker. It accepts payments for the account of the union and state governments and also makes payments on behalf of the Government. The state Bank of India works as an agent of the RBI where its offices do not exist. the cash reserve ratio may be between 3 to 15% as decided by the Reserve Bank. Thus. issues Government securities to the public and collects money on behalf of the Government. It not only advises Govt.75 with effect from 16 November.2. CRR has reduced from 5% to 4. every schedule bank is required to keep with the RBI a cash balance of 5% of its total demand and time liabilities as cash reserve ratio. RBI carries remittances. This provision of cash reserve enables the Reserve Bank to control credit which is created by commercial banks. ways and means advances which are repayable in three months. 2 . It also makes way and means advances to the central and state Government repayable within three months. The reserve bank of India carries out agency functions of the Government as the commercial banks carries out on behalf of their customers. This provision is also applicable on non-scheduled banks. on all monetary and banking issues but also on a wide range of economic issues including those in the field of planning and resource mobilization.2002. RBI acts as the custodian public debts. It also advises Govt. commercial banks can borrow funds from Reserve Bank on the basis of eligible securities or get financial accommodation in times of need or stringency by rediscounting their bills of exchange. It also manages foreign exchange reserves to meet the important requirement. banking and credit and investment of funds. The RBI pays interest on the securities and redeemed at the time of maturity and also maintain accounts of this effect. Role of RBI: 2. Therefore. On behalf of the Government.
6 Clearing House Functions: The RBI operates clearing houses to settle banking transactions. 2. and Indian embassies in foreign countries. In order to maintain stability in exchange rates. 1. 2. 2. For smooth functioning of the economy RBI control credit through quantitative and qualitative methods. the Reserve Bank enter into foreign exchange transactions.5 Regulation in banking system: The primary duty of the reserve bank is to regulate the banking system of our country in such a way that the people of the country can trust in the banking up to perform its duty. The Reserve Bank is also authorized to buy and sell foreign exchange from and to scheduled banks. The RBI manages 14 major clearing houses of the country situated in different major cities. It also administers foreign currency for the central Government. 4. Apart from adopting appropriate monetary polices for the economic stability in the country and thereby exchange stability in the long-term.7 Credit Control: Credit control is a very important function of RBI as the Central Bank of India. 3 .2. There is a separate department for this purpose in RBI known as “Exchange control currencies and tries to maintain balance between the demand and supply of foreign exchange. The State Bank of India and its associates look after clearing houses function in other parts of the country as an agent of RBI. state Govt. Thus. 3. the RBI exercise control over the credit granted by the commercial bank. Licensing Management Branch expansion Power of inspection of bank Power to issue directions 2. the Reserve Bank has to ensure that the normal short-term fluctuations in trade do not affect the exchange rate. Details of this have been discussed as a separate heading. 5. This is secures by the centralization of the entire foreign exchange reserves of the country with the Reserve Bank of India.4 Custodian of Foreign Exchange Reserves: One of the important functions performed by the Reserve Bank is that of external value of the rupee.
3 Bankers Bank and Lender of the last Resort: The Reserve Bank of India acts as the bankers' bank. The assets and liabilities of the Issue Department are kept separate from those of the Banking Department. the Bank has the sole right to issue bank notes of all denominations. The remaining three-fifths of the assets might be held in rupee coins. via. The scheduled banks can borrow from the Reserve Bank of India on the basis of eligible securities or get financial accommodation in times of need or stringency by rediscounting bills of exchange. these provisions were considerably modified. Since 1957. 40 crores in value. every scheduled bank was required to maintain with the Reserve Bank a cash balance equivalent to 5% of its demand liabilities and 2 per cent of its time liabilities in India. the assets of the Issue Department were to consist of not less than two-fifths of gold coin. The Bank makes ways and means advances to the Governments for 90 days. 200 crores.1 Bank of Issue: Under Section 22 of the Reserve Bank of India Act. Functions of Reserve Bank of India The Reserve Bank of India Act of 1934 entrust all the important functions of a central bank the Reserve Bank of India. It makes loans and advances to the States and local authorities. to keep the cash balances as deposits free of interest. 3.both the Union and the States to float new loans and to manage public debt. to receive and to make payments on behalf of the Government and to carry out their exchange remittances and other banking operations. 115 crores should be in gold. It acts as adviser to the Government on all monetary and banking matters. of which at least Rs. The Reserve Bank is agent of Central Government and of all State Governments in India excepting that of Jammu and Kashmir. By an amendment of 1962. the Reserve Bank of India is required to maintain gold and foreign exchange reserves of Ra. 3. Due to the exigencies of the Second World War and the post-war period. Government of India rupee securities. The Reserve Bank has the obligation to transact Government business. eligible bills of exchange and promissory notes payable in India.3. gold bullion or sterling securities provided the amount of gold was not less than Rs.2 Banker to Government: The second important function of the Reserve Bank of India is to act as Government banker. Since commercial banks can always expect the Reserve Bank of India to come to their 4 . The system as it exists today is known as the minimum reserve system. Originally. The Reserve Bank has a separate Issue Department which is entrusted with the issue of currency notes. The Reserve Bank of India helps the Government . agent and adviser. The distribution of one rupee notes and coins and small coins all over the country is undertaken by the Reserve Bank as agent of the Government. 3. The minimum cash requirements can be changed by the Reserve Bank of India. According to the provisions of the Banking Companies Act of 1949. the distinction between demand and time liabilities was abolished and banks have been asked to keep cash reserves equal to 3 per cent of their aggregate deposit liabilities.
inspection and calling for information. According to the Reserve Bank of India Act of 1934.6d. the Bank was required to buy and sell at fixed rates any amount of sterling in lots of not less than Rs.F. the Reserve Bank has to act as the custodian of India's reserve of international currencies. According to the Banking Regulation Act of 1949. As supreme banking authority in the country. The rate of exchange fixed was Re. After India became a member of the International Monetary Fund in 1946.5 Custodian of Foreign Reserves: The Reserve Bank of India has the responsibility to maintain the official rate of exchange.000. the license can be cancelled by the Reserve Bank of certain stipulated conditions are not fulfilled.M. This power of the Bank to call for information is also intended to give it effective control of the credit system.4 Controller of Credit: The Reserve Bank of India is the controller of credit i. the Reserve Bank has the responsibility of maintaining fixed exchange rates with all other member countries of the I. the RBI has the responsibility of administering the exchange 5 . Further. selective controls of credit are increasingly being used by the Reserve Bank. (c) It controls the banking system through the system of licensing.e. 6d. (b) It controls the credit operations of banks through quantitative and qualitative controls. The Reserve Bank of India is armed with many more powers to control the Indian money market. Though there were periods of extreme pressure in favor of or against the rupee. 3. 10. The vast sterling balances were acquired and managed by the Bank. the Reserve Bank of India. Every bank has to get a license from the Reserve Bank of India to do banking business within India.help in times of banking crisis the Reserve Bank becomes not only the banker's bank but also the lender of the last resort. the Reserve Bank of India can ask any particular bank or the whole banking system not to lend to particular groups or persons on the basis of certain types of securities. 3. has the following powers: (a) It holds the cash reserves of all the scheduled banks. therefore. (d) It acts as the lender of the last resort by providing rediscount facilities to scheduled banks. its assets and liabilities. Each scheduled bank must send a weekly return to the Reserve Bank showing. The Reserve Bank has also the power to inspect the accounts of any commercial bank. Since 1935 the Bank was able to maintain the exchange rate fixed at lsh. It can do so through changing the Bank rate or through open market operations. 1 = sh. Since 1956. Besides maintaining the rate of exchange of the rupee. Every bank will have to get the permission of the Reserve Bank before it can open a new branch. in detail. it has the power to influence the volume of credit created by banks in India.
e. These institutions were set up directly or indirectly by the Reserve Bank to promote saving habit and to mobilise savings. liquidity of their assets. control of foreign exchange operations. The RBI is authorized to carry out periodical inspections of the banks and to call for returns and necessary information from them. In addition to its traditional central banking functions. it set up the Deposit Insurance Corporation in 1962. Accordingly. and the Banking Regulation Act. reconstruction.controls 3.7 Promotional functions: With economic growth assuming a new urgency since Independence. extend banking facilities to rural and semi-urban areas. The promotion of sound banking in India is an important goal of the RBI. amalgamation. the Agricultural Refinance Corporation of India in 1963 and the Industrial Reconstruction Corporation of India in 1972. i. control of bank credit. 6 . The Reserve Bank was asked to promote banking habit. issue of currency. branch expansion. which. Equally important.6 Supervisory functions: of the country. at one time. 1934. management and methods of working. The Reserve Bank Act. were regarded as outside the normal scope of central banking. management and methods of working. the range of the Reserve Bank's functions has steadily widened. The Bank has developed the co-operative credit movement to encourage saving. the RBI has been given wide and drastic powers.these powers relate to licensing of banks. inspection. 3. under the Banking Regulation Act of 1949 . the Unit Trust of India in 1964. The supervisory functions of the RBI have helped a great deal in improving the standard of banking in India to develop on sound lines and to improve the methods of their operation. As far back as 1935. The RBI has set up the Agricultural Refinance and Development Corporation to provide long-term finance to farmers. and to provide industrial finance as well as agricultural finance. 3. however. and liquidation. and establish and promote new specialized financing agencies. The supervisory function of the RBI may be regarded as a non-monetary function (though many consider this a monetary function). Monetary functions of the RBI are significant as they control and regulate the volume of money and credit in the country. But only since 1951 the Bank's role in this field has become extremely important. the Reserve bank has certain nonmonetary functions of the nature of supervision of banks and promotion of sound banking in India. the Reserve Bank has helped in the setting up of the IFCI and the SFC.8 Classification of RBIs functions: The monetary functions also known as the central banking functions of the RBI are related to control and regulation of money and credit. to eliminate moneylenders from the villages and to route its short term credit to agriculture. relating to licensing and establishments. the Industrial Development Bank of India also in 1964.. The Bank now performs varietyof developmental and promotional functions. liquidity of their assets. are the non-monetary functions of the RBI in the context of India's economic backwardness. banker to the Government and to the money market. branch expansion. 1949 have given the RBI wide powers of supervision and control over commercial and co-operative banks. The nationalization of 14 major Indian scheduled banks in July 1969 has imposed new responsibilities on the RBI for directing the growth of banking and credit policies towards more rapid development of the economy and realization of certain desired social objectives. the Reserve Bank of India set up the Agricultural Credit Department to provide agricultural credit.
3. protect depositors' interest and provide cost-effective banking services to the public.12 Issuer of currency: Issues and exchanges or destroys currency and coins not fit for circulation. 3.11 Manager of Foreign Exchange Manages the Foreign Exchange Management Act. also acts as their banker. the RBI has followed the promotional functions vigorously and has been responsible for strong financial support to industrial and agricultural development in the country. Banker to banks: maintains banking accounts of all scheduled banks. Objective: to give the public adequate quantity of supplies of currency notes and coins and in good quality. particularly after its nationalization 1949.amalgamation. 3. Objective: to facilitate external trade and payment and promote orderly development and maintenance of foreign exchange market in India. Since independence. Commercial banks have developed into financially and operationally sound and viable units. 7 . Objective: maintain public confidence in the system. reconstruction and liquidation. 3.14 Related Functions Banker to the Government: performs merchant banking function for the central and the state governments. Under the RBI's supervision and inspection.13 Developmental role Performs a wide range of promotional functions to support national objectives.10 Regulator and supervisor of the financial system: Prescribes broad parameters of banking operations within which the country's banking and financial system functions. the working of banks has greatly improved. 1999. 3. Objective: maintaining price stability and ensuring adequate flow of credit to productive sectors. The RBI's powers of supervision have now been extended to non-banking financial intermediaries.9 Monetary Authority: Formulates implements and monitors the monetary policy. 3.
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