Regional Rural and Co-operative banks in India Functions
Regional Rural Banks Function
The Regional Rural Banks are required to function within a limited area for which they are established. Usually the functional area of Each RRB is confined to a few districts of the state in which they are set up. The area of functioning of RRBs is decided by central government in consultation with NABARD and the Sponsor Banks by way of a notification issued in this regard.
It is therefore necessary for RRBs to establish their Head Office in central place of their notified area of functioning because they are also authorized to open their branches or appoint agency within their specified areas.
Sponsorship of Regional Rural Banks:
Each Regional Rural Bank is sponsored by a Public Sector Bank. A sponsor bank in relation to a Regional Rural Bank is a Bank by which such a RRB is sponsored. It is duty of a sponsor bank to aid and assist the RRB sponsored by it.
A sponsor bank helps RRB by:
- a) Subscribing to the share capital.
- b) Training personnel of Regional Rural Bank.
- c) Providing managerial and financial assistance to RRB.
A sponsor bank provides such managerial (staff) and financial assistance during the first 5 years of its functioning. The central government may, either on its own motion or on the recommendations of NABARD extend such period of 5 years for such further period(not exceeding 5 years at a time) as may be deemed fit.
The authorized capital of Regional Rural Banks is Rs. 5 crores which is contributed by Central Government, State Government and the Sponsor Bank in ration of 50:15:35.
Functions of Regional Rural Banks:
All the Regional Rural Banks are authorized to carry on to transact the business of a banking as defined in the Banking Regulation Act 1949. RRBs grant loans to small and marginal farmers, Agricultural labourers, Co-operative societies and to individuals including artisans, small entrepreneurs and persons of small means.
In brief RRBs do all such functions as are done by domestic banks like accepting deposits from public, providing credit, remittance services etc. They can also invest in Government securities and deposit schemes of Banks and Financial Institutions.
Regional Rural Banks may also seek refinance facilities provided by NABARD for the loans sanctioned and disbursed by them.
All the RRBs are covered under DICGC scheme and they are also required to observe the RBI stipulations for Cash Reserve Ratio and Statutory Liquidity Ratio.
The Reserve bank of India has brought all the RRBs under the ambit of Priority Sector lending w.e.f April 1997. Like all other commercial banks RRB are bound to provide 40% of their Net Bank Credit to Priority Sector. Out of which 25% of PS advances or 10 % of Net Bank Credit is to be given to weaker sectors.
Co-operative banks Function
The co-operative banks are small-sized units which operate both in urban and non-urban centers. They finance small borrowers in industrial and trade sectors besides professional and salary classes. Regulated by the Reserve Bank of India, they are governed by the Banking Regulations Act 1949 and banking laws (co-operative societies) act, 1965. The co-operative banking structure in India is divided into following 5 categories:
Primary Co-operative Credit Society
The primary co-operative credit society is an association of borrowers and non-borrowers residing in a particular locality. The funds of the society are derived from the share capital and deposits of members and loans from central co-operative banks. The borrowing powers of the members as well as of the society are fixed. The loans are given to members for the purchase of cattle, fodder, fertilizers, pesticides, etc.
Central Co-operative Banks
These are the federations of primary credit societies in a district and are of two types-those having a membership of primary societies only and those having a membership of societies as well as individuals. The funds of the bank consist of share capital, deposits, loans and overdrafts from state co-operative banks and joint stocks. These banks provide finance to member societies within the limits of the borrowing capacity of societies. They also conduct all the business of a joint stock bank.
State Co-operative Banks
The state co-operative bank is a federation of central co-operative bank and acts as a watchdog of the co-operative banking structure in the state. Its funds are obtained from share capital, deposits, loans and overdrafts from the Reserve Bank of India. The state co-operative banks lend money to central co-operative banks and primary societies and not directly to the farmers.
Land Development Banks
The Land development banks are organized in 3 tiers namely; state, central, and primary level and they meet the long term credit requirements of the farmers for developmental purposes. The state land development banks oversee, the primary land development banks situated in the districts and tehsil areas in the state. They are governed both by the state government and Reserve Bank of India. Recently, the supervision of land development banks has been assumed by National Bank for Agriculture and Rural development (NABARD). The sources of funds for these banks are the debentures subscribed by both central and state government. These banks do not accept deposits from the general public.
Urban Co-operative Banks
The term Urban Co-operative Banks (UCBs), though not formally defined, refers to primary co-operative banks located in urban and semi-urban areas. These banks, till 1996, were allowed to lend money only for non-agricultural purposes. This distinction does not hold today. These banks were traditionally centered on communities, localities, work place groups. They essentially lend to small borrowers and businesses. Today, their scope of operations has widened considerably.
The origins of the urban co-operative banking movement in India can be traced to the close of nineteenth century. Inspired by the success of the experiments related to the co-operative movement in Britain and the co-operative credit movement in Germany, such societies were set up in India. Co-operative societies are based on the principles of cooperation, mutual help, democratic decision making, and open membership. Co-operatives represented a new and alternative approach to organization as against proprietary firms, partnership firms, and joint stock companies which represent the dominant form of commercial organization. They mainly rely upon deposits from members and non-members and in case of need, they get finance from either the district central co-operative bank to which they are affiliated or from the apex co-operative bank if they work in big cities where the apex bank has its Head Office. They provide credit to small scale industrialists, salaried employees, and other urban and semi-urban residents.
Functions of Co-operative Banks
Co-operative banks also perform the basic banking functions of banking but they differ from commercial banks in the following respects
- Commercial banks are joint-stock companies under the companies’ act of 1956, or public sector bank under a separate act of a parliament whereas co-operative banks were established under the co-operative society’s acts of different states.
- Commercial bank structure is branch banking structure whereas co-operative banks have a three tier setup, with state co-operative bank at apex level, central / district co-operative bank at district level, and primary co-operative societies at rural level.
- Only some of the sections of banking regulation act of 1949 (fully applicable to commercial banks), are applicable to co-operative banks, resulting only in partial control by RBI of co-operative banks and
- Co-operative banks function on the principle of cooperation and not entirely on commercial parameters.
Problems of Co-operative Banks
Duality of control system of co-operative banks
However, concerns regarding the professionalism of urban co-operative banks gave rise to the view that they should be better regulated. Large co-operative banks with paid-up share capital and reserves of Rs.1 lakh were brought under the purview of the Banking Regulation Act 1949 with effect from 1st March, 1966 and within the ambit of the Reserve Bank’s supervision. This marked the beginning of an era of duality of control over these banks. Banking related functions (viz. licensing, area of operations, interest rates etc.) were to be governed by RBI and registration, management, audit and liquidation, etc. governed by State Governments as per the provisions of respective State Acts. In 1968, UCB’s were extended the benefits of deposit insurance.
Towards the late 1960s there was debate regarding the promotion of the small scale industries. UCB’s came to be seen as important players in this context. The working group on industrial financing through Co-operative Banks, (1968 known as Damry Group) attempted to broaden the scope of activities of urban co-operative banks by recommending these banks should finance the small and cottage industries. This was reiterated by the Banking Commission in 1969.
The Madhavdas Committee (1979) evaluated the role played by urban co-operative banks in greater details and drew a roadmap for their future role recommending support from RBI and Government in the establishment of such banks in backward areas and prescribing viability standards.
The Hate Working Group (1981) desired better utilization of bank’s surplus funds and that the percentage of the Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) & the Statutory Liquidity Ratio (SLR) of these banks should be brought at par with commercial banks, in a phased manner. While the Marathe Committee (1992) redefined the viability norms and ushered in the era of liberalization, the Madhava Rao Committee (1999) focused on consolidation, control of sickness, better professional standards in urban co-operative banks and sought to align the urban banking movement with commercial banks.
A feature of the urban banking movement has been its heterogeneous character and its uneven geographical spread with most banks concentrated in the states ofGujarat, Karnataka, Maharashtra, and Tamil Nadu. While most banks are unit banks without any branch network, some of the large banks have established their presence in many states when at their behest multi-state banking was allowed in 1985. Some of these banks are also Authorized Dealers in Foreign Exchange.