Exchange Currency

Reserve Bank of India

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is India's central banking institution, which controls the monetary policy of the Indian rupee. It was established on 1 April 1935 during the British Raj in accordance with the provisions of the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934. The share capital was divided into shares of ₹100 each fully paid which was entirely owned by private shareholders in the beginning. Following India's independence in 1947, the RBI was nationalized in the year 1949.

The RBI plays an important part in the development strategy of the Government of India. It is a member bank of the Asian Clearing Union. The general superintendence and direction of the RBI is entrusted with the 21-member-strong Central Board of Directors—the Governor (currently Duvvuri Subbarao), four Deputy Governors, two Finance Ministry representative, ten Government-nominated Directors to represent important elements from India's economy, and four Directors to represent Local Boards headquartered at Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and New Delhi. Each of these Local Boards consist of five members who represent regional interests, as well as the interests of co-operative and indigenous banks.

The Bank is also active in promoting financial inclusion policy and is a leading member of the Alliance for Financial Inclusion.

The Reserve Bank of India was founded on 1 April 1935 to respond to economic troubles after the First World War. It came into picture according to the guidelines laid down by Dr. Ambedkar. RBI was conceptualized as per the guidelines, working style and outlook presented by Dr Ambedkar in front of the Hilton Young Commission. When this commission came to India under the name of “Royal Commission on Indian Currency & Finance”, each and every member of this commission were holding Dr Ambedkar’s book named “The Problem of the Rupee – It’s origin and it’s solution”. The Bank was set up based on the recommendations of the 1926 Royal Commission on Indian Currency and Finance, also known as the Hilton–Young Commission.

The original choice for the seal of RBI was The East India Company Double Mohur, with the sketch of the Lion and Palm Tree. However it was decided to replace the lion with the tiger, the national animal of India. The Preamble of the RBI describes its basic functions to regulate the issue of bank notes, keep reserves to secure monetary stability in India, and generally to operate the currency and credit system in the best interests of the country. The Central Office of the RBI was initially established in Calcutta (now Kolkata), but was permanently moved to Bombay (now Mumbai) in 1937.

The RBI also acted as Burma's central bank, except during the years of the Japanese occupation of Burma (1942–45), until April 1947, even though Burma seceded from the Indian Union in 1937. After the Partition of India in 1947, the Bank served as the central bank for Pakistan until June 1948 when the State Bank of Pakistan commenced operations. Though originally set up as a shareholders’ bank, the RBI has been fully owned by the Government of India since its nationalization in 1949.

In the 1950s, the Indian government, under its first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, developed a centrally planned economic policy that focused on the agricultural sector. The administration nationalized commercial banks and established, based on the Banking Companies Act of 1949 (later called the Banking Regulation Act), a central bank regulation as part of the RBI. Furthermore, the central bank was ordered to support the economic plan with loans.

As a result of bank crashes, the RBI was requested to establish and monitor a deposit insurance system. It should restore the trust in the national bank system and was initialized on 7 December 1961. The Indian government founded funds to promote the economy and used the slogan Developing Banking. The Government of India restructured the national bank market and nationalized a lot of institutes. As a result, the RBI had to play the central part of control and support of this public banking sector.

In 1969, the Indira Gandhi-headed government nationalized 14 major commercial banks. Upon Gandhi's return to power in 1980, a further six banks were nationalized. The regulation of the economy and especially the financial sector was reinforced by the Government of India in the 1970s and 1980s. The central bank became the central player and increased its policies for a lot of tasks like interests, reserve ratio and visible deposits. These measures aimed at better economic development and had a huge effect on the company policy of the institutes. The banks lent money in selected sectors, like agri-business and small trade companies.

The branch was forced to establish two new offices in the country for every newly established office in a town. The oil crises in 1973 resulted in increasing inflation, and the RBI restricted monetary policy to reduce the effects.

A lot of committees analysed the Indian economy between 1985 and 1991. Their results had an effect on the RBI. The Board for Industrial and Financial Reconstruction, the Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research and the Security & Exchange Board of India investigated the national economy as a whole, and the security and exchange board proposed better methods for more effective markets and the protection of investor interests. The Indian financial market was a leading example for so-called "financial repression" (Mackinnon and Shaw). The Discount and Finance House of India began its operations on the monetary market in April 1988; the National Housing Bank, founded in July 1988, was forced to invest in the property market and a new financial law improved the versatility of direct deposit by more security measures and liberalization.

The national economy came down in July 1991 and the Indian rupee was devalued. The currency lost 18% relative to the US dollar, and the Narsimahmam Committee advised restructuring the financial sector by a temporal reduced reserve ratio as well as the statutory liquidity ratio. New guidelines were published in 1993 to establish a private banking sector. This turning point should reinforce the market and was often called neo-liberal. The central bank deregulated bank interests and some sectors of the financial market like the trust and property markets. This first phase was a success and the central government forced a diversity liberalization to diversify owner structures in 1998.

The National Stock Exchange of India took the trade on in June 1994 and the RBI allowed nationalized banks in July to interact with the capital market to reinforce their capital base. The central bank founded a subsidiary company—the Bharatiya Reserve Bank Note Mudran Limited—in February 1995 to produce banknotes.

The Foreign Exchange Management Act from 1999 came into force in June 2000. It should improve the foreign exchange market, international investments in India and transactions. The RBI promoted the development of the financial market in the last years, allowed online banking in 2001 and established a new payment system in 2004–2005 (National Electronic Fund Transfer). The Security Printing & Minting Corporation of India Ltd., a merger of nine institutions, was founded in 2006 and produces banknotes and coins.

The national economy's growth rate came down to 5.8% in the last quarter of 2008–2009 and the central bank promotes the economic development.

Financial Supervision
The Reserve Bank of India performs this function under the guidance of the Board for Financial Supervision (BFS). The Board was constituted in November 1994 as a committee of the Central Board of Directors of the Reserve Bank of India.

Primary objective of BFS is to undertake consolidated supervision of the financial sector comprising commercial banks, financial institutions and non-banking finance companies.

The Board is constituted by co-opting four Directors from the Central Board as members for a term of two years and is chaired by the Governor. The Deputy Governors of the Reserve Bank are ex-officer members. One Deputy Governor, usually, the Deputy Governor in charge of banking regulation and supervision, is nominated as the Vice-Chairman of the Board.

The Board is required to meet normally once every month. It considers inspection reports and other supervisory issues placed before it by the supervisory departments.

BFS through the Audit Sub-Committee also aims at upgrading the quality of the statutory audit and internal audit functions in banks and financial institutions. The audit sub-committee includes Deputy Governor as the chairman and two Directors of the Central Board as members.

The BFS oversees the functioning of Department of Banking Supervision (DBS), Department of Non-Banking Supervision (DNBS) and Financial Institutions Division (FID) and gives directions on the regulatory and supervisory issues.

Some of the initiatives taken by BFS include:

  • restructuring of the system of bank inspections
  • introduction of off-site surveillance
  • strengthening of the role of statutory auditors
  • strengthening of the internal defenses of supervised institutions.

The Audit Sub-committee of BFS has reviewed the current system of concurrent audit, norms of impalement and appointment of statutory auditors, the quality and coverage of statutory audit reports, and the important issue of greater transparency and disclosure in the published accounts of supervised institutions.

The Central Board of Directors is the main committee of the central bank. The Government of India appoints the directors for a four-year term. The Board consists of a governor, four deputy governors, fifteen directors to represent the regional boards, one from the Ministry of Finance and ten other directors from various fields. The Government nominated Arvind Mayaram, as a director of the Central Board of Directors with effect from August 7, 2012 and vice R Gopalan, RBI said in a statement on August 8, 2012.

The current Governor of RBI is Duvvuri Subbarao. The RBI extended the period of the present governor up to 2013. There are four deputy governors, Deputy Governor K C Chakrabarty, Subir Gokarn, Shri Anand Sinha, and Shri H.R. Khan . Deputy Governor K C Chakrabarty's term has been extended further by 2 years.

The Reserve Bank of India has ten regional representations: North in New Delhi, South in Chennai, East in Kolkata and West in Mumbai. The representations are formed by five members, appointed for four years by the central government and serve—beside the advice of the Central Board of Directors—as a forum for regional banks and to deal with delegated tasks from the central board. The institution has 22 regional offices.

The Board of Financial Supervision (BFS), formed in November 1994, serves as a CCBD committee to control the financial institutions. It has four members, appointed for two years, and takes measures to strength the role of statutory auditors in the financial sector, external monitoring and internal controlling systems.

The Tarapore committee was set up by the Reserve Bank of India under the chairmanship of former RBI deputy governor S. S. Tarapore to "lay the road map" to capital account convertibility. The five-member committee recommended a three-year time frame for complete convertibility by 1999–2000.

On 1 July 2007, in an attempt to enhance the quality of customer service and strengthen the grievance redressal mechanism, the Reserve Bank of India created a new customer service department.

The Reserve Bank of India has 4 zonal offices. It has 19 regional offices at most state capitals and at a few major cities in India. Few of them are located in Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Bhopal, Bhubaneswar, Chandigarh, Chennai, Delhi, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Jammu, Kanpur, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai, Nagpur, Patna, and Thiruvananthapuram. Besides it has 09 sub-offices at Agartala, Dehradun, Gangtok, Kochi, Panaji, Raipur, Ranchi, Shillong, Shimla and Srinagar.

The bank has also two training colleges for its officers, viz. Reserve Bank Staff College at Chennai and College of Agricultural Banking at Pune. There are also four Zonal Training Centres at Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata and New Delhi.

Main functions

Monetary Authority:
  • Formulates, implements and monitors the monetary policy.
  • Objective: maintaining price stability and ensuring adequate flow of credit to productive sectors.

Regulator and supervisor of the financial system:
  • Prescribes broad parameters of banking operations within which the country's banking and financial system functions.
  • Objective: maintain public confidence in the system, protect depositors' interest and provide cost-effective banking services to the public.

Manager of Foreign Exchange:
  • Manages the Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999.
  • Objective: to facilitate external trade and payment and promote orderly development and maintenance of foreign exchange market in India.

Issuer of currency:
  • Issues and exchanges or destroys currency and coins not fit for circulation.
  • Objective: to give the public adequate quantity of supplies of currency notes and coins and in good quality.

Developmental role:
  • Performs a wide range of promotional functions to support national objectives.

Related Functions:
  • Banker to the Government: performs merchant banking function for the central and the state governments; also acts as their banker.
  • Banker to banks: maintains banking accounts of all scheduled banks.

The Reserve Bank of India is the main monetary authority of the country and beside that the central bank acts as the bank of the national and state governments. It formulates, implements and monitors the monetary policy as well as it has to ensure an adequate flow of credit to productive sectors. Objectives are maintaining price stability and ensuring adequate flow of credit to productive sectors.

The national economy depends on the public sector and the central bank promotes an expansive monetary policy to push the private sector since the financial market reforms of the 1990s. It could be called as a say in marathi,"Sabhi Bank Ka Baapp". Because it provides money for other banks.

The bank issues and exchanges or destroys currency notes and coins that are not fit for circulation. The objectives are giving the public adequate supply of currency of good quality and to provide loans to commercial banks to maintain or improve the GDP. The basic objectives of RBI are to issue bank notes, to maintain the currency and credit system of the country to utilize it in its best advantage, and to maintain the reserves. RBI maintains the economic structure of the country so that it can achieve the objective of price stability as well as economic development, because both objectives are diverse in themselves.

Useful links

Currency of India:
Indian rupee
List of Central Banks:
Central Banks
Official website of Reserve Bank of India:
Finance Minister of India:
National Institute of Bank Management:
National Housing Bank: