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RBI: Role and functions

The Reserve Bank of India is the central bank of India, was established on April 1, 1935 during the British-Raj in accordance with the provisions of the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934. The Reserve Bank of India was set up on the recommendations of the Hilton Young Commission. The commission submitted its report in the year 1926, though the bank was not set up for nine years. The Central Office of the Reserve Bank was initially established in Kolkata, Bengal, but was permanently moved to Mumbai in 1937. Though originally privately owned, the RBI has been fully owned by the Government of India since nationalization in 1949. The Preamble of the Reserve Bank of India describes the basic functions of the Reserve Bank as to regulate the issue of Bank Notes and keeping of reserves with a view to securing monetary stability in India and generally to operate the currency and credit system of the country to its advantage.

The Reserve Bank of India performs various traditional central banking functions as well as undertakes different promotional and developmental measures to meet the dynamic requirements of the Indian economy.

Role of RBI in Economic Development

  1. Development of banking system
  2. Development of financial institutions
  3. Development of backward areas
  4. Economic stability
  5. Economic growth
  6. Proper interest rate structure

Promotional Role of RBI

  1. Promotion of commercial banking
  2. Promotion of cooperative banking
  3. Promotion of industrial finance
  4. Promotion of export finance
  5. Promotion of credit to weaker sections
  6. Promotion of credit guarantees
  7. Promotion of differential rate of interest scheme
  8. Promotion of credit to priority sections including rural & agricultural sector

Functions of Reserve Bank of India

  1. Monetary Authority: It controls the supply of money in the economy to stabilize exchange rate, maintain healthy balance of payment, attain financial stability, control inflation, strengthen banking system
  2. The issuer of currency: The objective is to maintain the currency and credit system of the country to maintain the reserves. It has the sole authority in India to issue currency. It also takes action to control the circulation of fake currency.
  3. The issuer of Banking License: As per Sec 22 of Banking Regulation Act, every bank has to obtain a Banking license from RBI to conduct banking business in India.
  4. Banker’s to the Government: It acts as banker both to the central and the state governments. It provides short-term credit. It manages all new issues of government loans, servicing the government debt outstanding and nurturing the market for government’s securities. It advises the government on banking and financial subjects.
  5. Banker’s Bank: RBI is the bank of all banks in India as it provides the loan to banks/bankers, accept the deposit of banks, and rediscount the bills of banks.
  6. Lender of last resort: The banks can borrow from the RBI by keeping eligible securities as collateral at the time of need or crisis.
  7. Banker and debt manager of government: RBI keeps deposits of Governments free of interest, receives and makes payment, carry exchange remittances, and help to float new loans and manage public debt, act as an advisor to Government.
  8. Money supply and Controller of Credit: To control demand and supply of money in Economy by Open Market Operations, Credit Ceiling, etc. RBI has to meet the credit requirements of the rest of the banking system. It needs to maintain price stability and a high rate of economic growth.
  9. Act as clearinghouse: For settlement of banking transactions, RBI manages 14 clearing houses. It facilitates the exchange of instruments and processing of payment instructions.
  10. Manager of foreign exchange: It acts as a custodian of FOREX. It administers and enforces the provision of Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA), 1999. RBI buys and sells foreign currency to maintain the exchange rate of Indian rupee v/s foreign currencies.
  11. Regulator of Economy: It controls the money supply in the system, monitors different key indicators like GDP, Inflation, etc.
  12. Managing Government securities: RBI administers investments in institutions when they invest specified minimum proportions of their total assets/liabilities in government securities.
  13. Regulator and Supervisor of Payment and Settlement systems: The Payment and Settlement systems Act of 2007 (PSS Act) gives RBI oversight authority for the payment and settlement systems in the country. RBI focuses on the development and functioning of safe, secure and efficient payment and settlement mechanisms.
  14. Developmental Role: This role includes the development of the quality of banking system in India and ensuring that credit is available to the productive sectors of the economy. It provides a wide range of promotional functions to support national objectives. It also includes establishing institutions designed to build the country’s financial infrastructure. It also helps in expanding access to affordable financial services and promoting financial education and literacy
  15. Publisher of monetary data and other data: RBI maintains and provides all essential banking and other economic data, formulating and critically evaluating the economic policies in India. RBI collects, collates and publishes data regularly.
  16. Exchange manager and controller: RBI represents India as a member of the International Monetary Fund [IMF]. Most commercial banks are authorized dealers of RBI
  17. Banking Ombudsman Scheme: RBI introduced the Banking Ombudsman Scheme in 1995. Under this scheme, the complainants can file their complaints in any form, including online and can also appeal to the RBI against the awards and the other decisions of the Banking Ombudsman
  18. Banking Codes and Standards Board of India: To measure the performance of banks against Codes and standards based on established global practices, the RBI set up the Banking Codes and Standards Board of India (BCSBI).

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