Reserve Bank of India

Reserve Bank of India

Reserve Bank of India
भारतीय रिज़र्व बैंक
Headquarters Shahid Bhagat Singh Marg Mumbai, Maharashtra
Established April 1, 1935  (1935-04-01)
Governor Raghuram Rajan
Currency Indian Rupee
Reserves US$311.86 billion [1]
Bank rate 9.00% [2]
Interest on reserves 4.00%(market determined)[3]

The Reserve Bank of India is India's Central Banking Institution, which controls the Monetary Policy of the Indian Rupee. It commenced its operations on 1 April 1935 during the British Rule in accordance with the provisions of the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934.[4] The original share capital was divided into shares of 100 each fully paid, which were initially owned entirely by private shareholders.[5] Following India's independence on 15 - August - 1947, the RBI was nationalised in the year of 1 January 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 20-member Central Board of Directors: the Governor (Dr. Raghuram Rajan), 4 Deputy Governors, 1 Finance Ministry representatives, 10 government-nominated directors to represent important elements from India's economy, and 4 directors to represent local boards headquartered at Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and New Delhi. Each of these local boards consists of 5 members who represent regional interests, and 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 (AFI).


  • History 1
    • 1935–1950 1.1
    • 1950–1960 1.2
    • 1960–1969 1.3
    • 1969–1985 1.4
    • 1985–1991 1.5
    • 1991–2000 1.6
    • Since 2000 1.7
  • Structure 2
    • Central Board of Directors 2.1
    • Governors 2.2
    • Supportive bodies 2.3
    • Offices and branches 2.4
  • Main functions 3
    • Regulator and supervisor of the financial system 3.1
    • Managerial of exchange control 3.2
    • Issuer of currency 3.3
    • Banker's bank 3.4
  • Detection of fake currency 4
    • Developmental role 4.1
    • Related functions 4.2
  • Policy rates and reserve ratios 5
    • Bank rate 5.1
    • Reserve requirement cash reserve ratio (CRR) 5.2
    • Statutory liquidity ratio (SLR) 5.3
  • Publications 6
  • Further reading 7
  • Notes 8
  • References 9
  • External links 10



The old RBI Building in Mumbai

The Reserve Bank of India was founded on 1 April 1935 to respond to economic troubles after the First World War.[6] RBI was conceptualized as per the guidelines, working style and outlook presented by Dr B. R. Ambedkar as written in his book “The Problem of the Rupee – Its origin and its solution.” in front of the Hilton Young Commission.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.[7] 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 established in Calcutta (now Kolkata), but was 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 set up as a shareholders’ bank, the RBI has been fully owned by the Government of India since its nationalization in 1949.[8]


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[9] 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.[10]


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 found 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.[7] The regulation of the economy and especially the financial sector was reinforced by the Government of India in the 1970s and 1980s.[11] The central bank became the central player and increased its policies for a lot of tasks like interests, reserve ratio and visible deposits.[12] 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.[13]

The branch was forced to establish two new offices in the country for every newly established office in a town.[14] The oil crises in 1973 resulted in increasing inflation, and the RBI restricted monetary policy to reduce the effects.[15]


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).[16] 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 liberalisation.[17]


The national economy came down in July 1991 and the Indian rupee was devalued.[18] The currency lost 18% relative to the US dollar, and the Narsimham 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.[19] The central bank deregulated bank interests and some sectors of the financial market like the trust and property markets.[20] This first phase was a success and the central government forced a diversity liberalisation to diversify owner structures in 1998.[21]

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 Private Limited—in February 1995 to produce banknotes.[22]

Since 2000

The Foreign Exchange Management Act from 1999 came into force in June 2000. It should improve the item in 2004–2005 (National Electronic Fund Transfer).[23] The Security Printing & Minting Corporation of India Ltd., a merger of nine institutions, was founded in 2006 and produces banknotes and coins.[24]

The national economy's growth rate came down to 5.8% in the last quarter of 2008–2009[25] and the central bank promotes the economic development.[26]


RBI runs a monetary museum in Mumbai

Central Board of Directors

The Central Board of Directors is the main committee of the Central Bank. The Government of India appoints the directors for a 4-year term. The Board consists of a Governor, and not more than 4 Deputy Governors, 4 [27] Directors to represent the regional boards, 2 from the Ministry of Finance and 10 other directors from various fields.

The central bank now wants to create a post of Chief Operating Officer(COO) and re-allocate work between the five of them(4 Deputy Governor and COO).[28][29]


The Governor of RBI is Raghuram Rajan. There are 4 Deputy Governors, Deputy Governor H R Khan, Dr Urjit Patel, R Gandhi and SS Mundra. Dr. Urjit Patel became Deputy Governor in January 2013. One of the four Deputy Governors is traditionally from RBI ranks, and is selected from the Bank's Executive Directors. As for the rest, one is nominated from among the Chairpersons of Public Sector Bank, and the other is an economist of repute . It is also often seen that an officer of Indian Administrative Service is appointed Deputy Governor of RBI and later as the Governor of RBI. The case of Y. Venugopal Reddy, an officer of Indian Administrative Service batch of 1964 is a noted example for this trend in the RBI.

Supportive bodies

The Reserve Bank of India has four 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.[30] 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.

Offices and branches

The Reserve Bank of India has four zonal offices.[31] 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. It also has 09 sub-offices located in Samana, Dehradun, Gangtok, Kochi, Panaji, Raipur, Ranchi, Shillong, Shimla , Srinagar and Agartala .

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

Reserve Bank of India regional office, Delhi entrance with the Yakshini sculpture depicting "Prosperity through agriculture".[32]
The RBI Regional Office in Delhi.
The regional office of RBI (in sandstone)in front of GPO(in white) at Dalhousie Square, Kolkata.

Regulator and supervisor of the financial system

The institution is also the regulator and supervisor of the financial system and prescribes broad parameters of banking operations within which the country's banking and financial system functions.Its objectives are to maintain public confidence in the system, protect depositors' interest and provide cost-effective banking services to the public. The Banking Ombudsman Scheme has been formulated by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) for effective addressing of complaints by bank customers. The RBI controls the monetary supply, monitors economic indicators like the gross domestic product and has to decide the design of the rupee banknotes as well as coins.[33]

Managerial of exchange control

The central bank manages to reach different goals of 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

The bank issues and exchanges or destroys currency notes and coins that are not fit for circulation. The objectives are giving the public adequate sups 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. For printing of notes, the Security Printing and Minting Corporation of India Limited (SPMCIL), a wholly owned company of the Government of India, has set up printing presses at Nashik, Maharashtra and Dewas, Madhya Pradesh. The Bharatiya Reserve Bank Note Mudran Private Limited (BRBNMPL), a wholly owned subsidiary of the Reserve Bank, also has set up printing presses at Mysore in Karnataka and Salboni in West Bengal. In all, there are four printing presses.[34] And for minting of coins, SPMCIL has four mints at Mumbai, Noida (UP), Kolkata and Hyderabad for coin production.[34]

Banker's bank

Nagpur branch holds most of India's gold deposits

RBI also works as a central bank where commercial banks are account holders and can deposit money.RBI maintains banking accounts of all scheduled banks.[35] Commercial banks create credit. It is the duty of the RBI to control the credit through the CRR, bank rate and open market operations. As banker's bank, the RBI facilitates the clearing of cheques between the commercial banks and helps inter-bank transfer of funds. It can grant financial accommodation to schedule banks. It acts as the lender of the last resort by providing emergency advances to the banks. It supervises the functioning of the commercial banks and take action against it if need arises.

Detection of fake currency

In order to curb the fake currency menace, RBI has launched a website to raise awareness among masses about fake notes in the provides information about identifying fake currency.[36]

On January 22, 2014; RBI gave a press release stating that after March 31, 2014, it will completely withdraw from circulation all banknotes issued prior to 2005. From April 1, 2014, the public will be required to approach banks for exchanging these notes. Banks will provide exchange facility for these notes until further communication. The Reserve Bank has also clarified that the notes issued before 2005 will continue to be legal tender. This would mean that banks are required to exchange the notes for their customers as well as for non-customers. From July 1, 2014, however, to exchange more than 10 pieces of `500 and `1000 notes, non-customers will have to furnish proof of identity and residence to the bank branch in which she/he wants to exchange the notes.

This move from the Reserve Bank is expected to unearth black money held in cash. As the new currency notes have added security features, they would help in curbing the menace of fake currency.[37]

Developmental role

The central bank has to perform a wide range of promotional functions to support national objectives and industries.[10] The RBI faces a lot of inter-sectoral and local inflation-related problems. Some of this problems are results of the dominant part of the public sector.[38]

Related functions

The RBI is also a banker to the government and performs merchant banking function for the central and the state governments. It also acts as their banker. The National Housing Bank (NHB) was established in 1988 to promote private real estate acquisition.[39] The institution maintains banking accounts of all scheduled banks, too. RBI on 7 August 2012 said that Indian banking system is resilient enough to face the stress caused by the drought like situation because of poor monsoon this year.[40]

Policy rates and reserve ratios

Policy Rates, Reserve Ratios, Lending and Deposit Rates as of July 15, 2014
Bank Rate 9.00%
Repo Rate 8.00%
Reverse Repo Rate 7.00%
Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) 4%
Statutory Liquidity Ratio (SLR) 22.00%
Base Rate 10.00%–10.25%
Savings Deposit Rate 4%
Term Deposit Rate 8.00%–9.5%

Bank rate

RBI lends (no collateral required for long term lendings) to the commercial banks through its discount window to help the banks meet depositors' demands and reserve requirements for long term. The interest rate the RBI charges the banks for this purpose is called bank rate. If the RBI wants to increase the liquidity and money supply in the market, it will decrease the bank rate and if RBI wants to reduce the liquidity and money supply in the system, it will increase the bank rate. The bank rate has lost its significance as a monetary policy tool as the central bank signals stance through changes in repo, the rate at which banks borrow short-term funds from RBI. The Bank Rate, which is the standard rate at which the RBI buys or re-discount bills of exchange or other commercial paper, is presently used

Reserve requirement cash reserve ratio (CRR)

Every commercial bank has to keep certain minimum cash reserves with Reserve Bank of India. Consequent upon amendment to sub-Section 42(1), the Reserve Bank, having regard to the needs of securing the monetary stability in the country, RBI can prescribe Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) for scheduled banks without any floor rate or ceiling rate. Before the enactment of this amendment, in terms of Section 42(1) of the RBI Act, the Reserve Bank could prescribe CRR for scheduled banks between 5% and 20% of total of their demand and time liabilities. RBI uses this tool to increase or decrease the reserve requirement depending on whether it wants to effect a decrease or an increase in the money supply. An increase in Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) will make it mandatory on the part of the banks to hold a large proportion of their deposits in the form of deposits with the RBI. This will reduce the size of their deposits and they will lend less. This will in turn decrease the money supply.

Statutory liquidity ratio (SLR)

Apart from the CRR, banks are required to maintain liquid assets in the form of gold, cash and approved securities. Higher liquidity ratio forces commercial banks to maintain a larger proportion of their resources in liquid form and thus reduces their capacity to grant loans and advances, thus it is an anti-inflationary impact. A higher liquidity ratio diverts the bank funds from loans and advances to investment in government and approved securities. In well-developed economies, central banks use open market operations—buying and selling of eligible securities by central bank in the money market—to influence the volume of cash reserves with commercial banks and thus influence the volume of loans and advances they can make to the commercial and industrial sectors. In the open money market, government securities are traded at market related rates of interest. The RBI is resorting more to open market operations in the more recent years. Generally RBI uses three kinds of selective credit controls:

  1. Minimum margins for lending against specific securities.
  2. Ceiling on the amounts of credit for certain purposes.
  3. Discriminatory rate of interest charged on certain types of advances.

Direct credit controls in India are of three types:

  1. Part of the interest rate structure, i.e., on small savings and provident funds, are administratively set.
  2. Banks are mandatory required to keep 22% of their deposits in the form of government securities.
  3. Banks are required to lend to the priority sectors to the extent of 40% of their advances.


A report titled "Trend and Progress of Banking In India" is published annually, as required by the Banking Regulation Act of 1949. The report sums up trends and developments throughout the financial sector.[41] Starting in April 2014, the Reserve Bank of India is sending out bi-monthly policy updates.[42]

Further reading

  • S. L. N. Simha. History of the Reserve Bank of India, Volume 1: 1935–1951. RBI. 1970. ISBN 81-7596-247-X. (2005 reprint PDF)
  • G. Balachandran. The Reserve Bank of India, 1951–1967. Oxford University Press. 1998. ISBN 0-19-564468-9. (PDF)
  • A. Vasudevan et al. The Reserve Bank of India, Volume 3: 1967–1981. RBI. 2005. ISBN 81-7596-299-2. (PDF)
  • Cecil Kisch: Review "The Monetary Policy of the Reserve Bank of India" by K. N. Raj. In: The Economic Journal. Vol. 59, No. 235 (Sep., 1949), pp. 436–438.
  • Findlay G. Shirras: The Reserve Bank of India. In The Economic Journal. Vol. 44, No. 174 (Jun., 1934), pp. 258–274.
  • Narenda Jadhav, Partha Ray, Dhritidyuti Bose, Indranil Sen Gupta: The Reserve Bank of India’s Balance Sheet: Analytics and Dynamics of Evolution, November 2004.



  1. ^ Reserve Bank of India. (2005-02-07). Retrieved on 2014-05-21.
  2. ^ Reserve Bank of India - India's Central Bank. Retrieved on 2014-05-21.
  3. ^ as on May 9th 2014
  4. ^ "Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934". p. 115. Retrieved August 6, 2012. 
  5. ^ "RESERVE BANK OF INDIA ACT, 1934 (As modified up to 27 February 2009)". Reserve Bank of India (RBI). Retrieved 20 November 2010. 
  6. ^ Cecil Kisch: Review "The Monetary Policy of Reserve Bank of India" by Rohit. In: The Economic Journal. Vol. 59, No. 235 (Sep., 1949), PP. 436–438, p. 436.It began according to the guidelines laid down by Dr. B R Ambedkar.
  7. ^ a b "Reserve Bank of India: Platinum Jubilee (PDF)". 2010. Retrieved on 15 April 2012.
  8. ^ "History". RBI. 1935-04-01. Retrieved 2010-08-20. 
  9. ^ Beth Anne Wilson und Geoffrey N. Keim: India and the Global Economy in Business Economics, January 2006, S.29.
  10. ^ a b Narenda Jadhav, Partha Ray, Dhritidyuti Bose, Indranil Sen Gupta: The Reserve Bank of India’s Balance Sheet: Analytics and Dynamics of Evolution, November 2004, S.. 16.
  11. ^ Ananya Mukherjee Reed: Corporate Governance Reforms in India in Journal of Business Ethics, Volume 37, Number 3 / May, 2002, p. 253.
  12. ^ Sunil Kumar, Rachita Gulati: Did efficiency of Indian public sector banks converge with banking reforms? in Int Rev Econ (2009) 56:47–84, p. 47-48.
  13. ^ Panicos O. Demetriades, Kul B. Luintel: Financial Development, Economic Growth and Banking Sector Controls: Evidence from India. in The Economic Journal. Vol. 106, No. 435 (March 1996), pp. 359–374, p. 360.
  14. ^ Alpana Killawala: “History of The Reserve Bank of India – Summary”, Reserve Bank of India Press Release, 18.03.2006 (RBI)
  15. ^ Narenda Jadhav, Partha Ray, Dhritidyuti Bose, Indranil Sen Gupta: The Reserve Bank of India’s Balance Sheet: Analytics and Dynamics of Evolution, November 2004, S. 40.
  16. ^ Sunil Kumar, Rachita Gulati: Did efficiency of Indian public sector banks converge with banking reforms? in Int Rev Econ (2009) 56:47–84, p. 48.
  17. ^ Chronology of Events, Developing the Markets: Seeds of Liberalization- 1985 to 1991 (RBI)
  18. ^ Amal Kanti Ray: India’s Social Development in a Decade of Reforms: 1990–91/1999–2000 in Social Indicators Research, Volume 87, Number 3 / July, 2008, p. 410.
  19. ^ Ananya Mukherjee Reed: Corporate Governance Reforms in India in Journal of Business Ethics, Volume 37, Number 3 / May, 2002, p. 257.
  20. ^ Raghbendra Jha, Ibotombi S. Longjam: Structure of financial savings during Indian economic reforms in Empirical Economics (2006) 31:861–869, p.862.
  21. ^ Sunil Kumar, Rachita Gulati: Did efficiency of Indian public sector banks converge with banking reforms? in Int Rev Econ (2009) 56:47–84, p. 49,
  22. ^ Chronology of Events, Crisis and Reforms- 1991 to 2000 (RBI)
  23. ^ "RBI History – Spanning 7 Decades of Public Service". 1935-04-01. Retrieved 2010-08-20. 
  24. ^ Security Printing &Minting Corporation of India, About Us (SPMCIL)
  25. ^ Second Quarter Review of Monetary Policy for the Year 2009–10, Punkt 15., (RBI)
  26. ^ Macroeconomic and Monetary Developments – Second Quarter Review 2009–10, S.94, (RBI)
  27. ^ Reserve Bank of India - India's Central Bank. Retrieved on 2014-05-21.
  28. ^
  29. ^
  30. ^ "About us, Organisation and Functions". RBI. Retrieved 2010-08-20. 
  31. ^ "Reserve Bank of India". Retrieved 2011-09-16. 
  32. ^ "History of Reserve Bank". Retrieved 2009-02-24. 
  33. ^ RBI, Frequently Asked Questions, Currency Matters (RBI)
  34. ^ a b RBI, Right To Information Doc, Pg 29/30
  35. ^
  36. ^ "RBI launches website to explain detection of fake currency". Times of India. 8 July 2012. 
  37. ^ [1]
  38. ^ Samarjit Das, Kaushik Bhattacharya: Price convergence across regions in India in Empirical Economics (2008) 34:299–313, S. 312.
  39. ^ Alpana Sivam, Sadasivam Karuppannan: Role of state and market in housing delivery for low-income groups in India in Journal of Housing and the Built Environment 17: 69–88, 2002, S.85.
  40. ^ "Indian banks can weather impact of drought: RBI". 07-08-2012. 
  41. ^ C. R. L. Narasimhan (2 December 2013). "NPA reduction, a key issue".  
  42. ^ "Maintaining the status quo". 2 April 2014. Retrieved 6 April 2014. 

External links

  • Official website
  • Reserve Bank of India Ombudsman site
  • Weekly Statistical Supplement