RBI: Role and Function

28/04/2020 4 By indiafreenotes

The central bank of the country is the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). It was established in April 1935 with a share capital to Rs. 5 crores on the basis of the recommendations of the Hilton Young Commission. The share capital was divided into shares of Rs. 100 each fully paid, which was entirely owned by private shareholders in the beginning. The government held shares of nominal value of Rs. 2, 20,000.

Reserve Bank of India was nationalized in the year 1949. The general superintendence and direction of the Bank is entrusted to Central Board of Directors of 20 members, the Governor and four Deputy Governors, one Government official from the Ministry of Finance, ten nominated Directors by the Government to give representation to important elements in the economic life of the country, and four nominated Directors by the Central Government to represent the four local Boards with headquarters at Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and New Delhi.

Local Boards consist of five members each whom the Central Government appointed for a term of four years to represent territorial and economic interests and the interests of co-operative and indigenous banks.

The Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934 was commenced on April 1, 1935. The Act, 1934 (II of 1934) provides the statutory basis of the functioning of the Bank.

The Bank was constituted for the need of following:

  • To regulate the issue of bank notes
  • To maintain reserves with a view to securing monetary stability.
  • To operate the credit and currency system of the country to its advantage.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has been playing an important role in the economy of the country both in its regulatory and promotional aspects. Since the inception of planning in 1951, the developmental activities are gaining momentum in the country. Accordingly, more and more responsibilities have been entrusted with the RBI both in the regulatory and promotional area. Now-a-days, the RBI has been performing a wide range of regulatory and promotional functions in the country.

Roles of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI)

  1. Regulating the Volume of Currency

The RBI is performing the regulatory role in issuing and controlling the entire volume of currency in the country through its Issue Department. While regulating the volume of currency the RBI is giving priority on the demand for currency and the stability of the economy equally.

  1. Regulating Credit

The RBI is also performing the role to control the credit money created by the commercial banks through its qualitative and quantitative methods of credit control and thereby maintains a balance in the money supply of the country.

  1. Control over Commercial Banks

Another regulatory role performed by the RBI is to have control over the functioning of the commercial banks. It also enforces certain prudential norms and rational banking principles to be followed by the commercial banks.

  1. Determining the Monetary and Credit Policy

The RBI has been formulating the monetary and credit policy of the country every year and thereby it controls the Statutory Liquidity Ratio (SLR), Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR), bank rate, interest rate, credit to priority sectors etc.

  1. Mobilizing Savings

The RBI is playing a vital promotional role to mobilize savings through its member commercial banks and other financial institutions. RBI is also guiding the commercial banks to extend their banking network in the unbanked rural and semi-urban areas and also to develop banking habits among the people. All these have led to the attainment of greater degree of monetization of the economy and has been able to reduce the activities of indigenous bankers and private money­lenders.

  1. Institutional Credit to Agriculture

The RBI has been trying to increase the flow of institutional credit to agriculture from the very beginning. Keeping this objective in mind, the RBI set up ARDC in 1963 for meeting the long term credit requirement of rural areas. Later on in July 1982, the RBI set up NABARD and merged ARDC with it to look after its agricultural credit functions.

  1. Specialized Financial Institutions

The RBI has also been playing an important promotional role for setting specialized financial institutions for meeting the long term credit needs of large and small scale industries and other sectors. Accordingly, the RBI has promoted the development of various financial institutions like, WCI, 1DBI, ICICI, SIDBI, SFCs, Exim Bank etc. which are making a significant contribution to industry and trade of the country.

  1. Security to Depositors

In order to remove the major hindrance to the deposit mobilization arising out of frequent bank failures, the RBI took major initiative to set up the Deposit Insurance Corporation of India in 1962. The most important objective of this corporation is to provide security to the depositors against such failures.

  1. Advisory Functions

The RBI is also providing advisory functions to both the Central and State Governments on both financial matters and also on general economic problems.

  1. Policy Support

The RBI is also providing active policy support to the government through its investigation research on serious economic problems and issues of the country and thereby helps the Government to formulate its economic policies in a most rational manner. Thus, it is observed that the RBI has been playing a dynamic role in the economic development process of the country through its regulatory and promotional framework.

Functions of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI)

The Reserve Bank of India is performing various functions related to monetary management, banking operations, foreign exchange, developmental works and research on problems of economy.

The following are some of the major functions normally performed by the Reserve Bank of India:

  1. Note Issue

Being the Central Bank of the country, the RBI is entrusted with the sole authority to issue currency notes after keeping certain minimum reserve consisting of gold reserve worth Rs. 115 crore and foreign exchange worth Rs. 85 crore. This provision was later amended and simplified.

  1. Banker to the Government

The RBI is working as banker of the government and therefore all funds of both Central and State Governments are kept with it. It acts as an agent of the government and manages its public debt. RBI also offering “ways and means advance” to the government for short periods.

  1. Banker’s Bank

The RBI is also working as the banker of other banks working in the country. It regulates the whole banking system of the country, keep certain percentage of their deposits as minimum reserve, works as the lender of the last resort to its scheduled banks and operates clearing houses for all other banks.

  1. Credit Control

The RBI is entrusted with the sole authority to control credit created by the commercial banks by applying both quantitative and qualitative credit control measures like variation in bank rate, open market operation, selective credit controls etc.

  1. Custodian of Foreign Exchange Reserves

The RBI is entrusted with sole authority to determine the exchange rate between rupee and other foreign currencies and also to maintain the reserve of foreign exchange earned by the Government. The RBI also maintains its relation with International Monetary Fund (IMF).

  1. Developmental Functions

The RBI is also working as a development agency by developing various sister organizations like Agricultural Refinance Development Corporation. Industrial Development Bank of India etc. for rendering agricultural credit and industrial credit in the country.

On July 12, 1986, NABARD was established and has taken over the entire responsibility of ARDC. Half of the share capital of NABARD (Rs. 100 crore) has been provided by the Reserve Bank of India. Thus, the Reserve Bank is performing a useful function for controlling and managing the entire banking, monetary and financial system of the country.