Banking Banking Awareness Reserve Bank of India Reserve Bank of India - Structure and Functions

Reserve Bank of India - Structure and Functions

Category : Banking


RBI was established on April 1, 1935 in accordance with the provisions of the Reserve Bank of India Act/1934.

  • The Central bank was formed under the recommendations from John Hilton Young Commission 1926, also called Royal Commission of Indian Currency and Finance.
  • The Central Office of the Reserve Bank was initially established in Calcutta but was permanently moved to Mumbai in 1937.

Though originally privately owned, since nationalization in 1949, the Reserve Bank is fully owned by the Government of India.



The Reserve Bank's affairs are governed by a central board of directors. The board is appointed by the Government of India in keeping with the Reserve Bank of India Act.

  • Appointed/nominated for a period of four years.
  • Present Governor

Dr. Urjit R. Patel (24th Governor)

  • Deputy Governors

Shri BP Kanungo

Shri S. S. Mundra

Shri N. S. Vishwanathan

Dr. Viral V. Acharya


First Governor of RBI - Sir Osbome Smith First Indian Governor of RBI - C. D. Deshmukh



Functions of Reserve Bank of India

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.


Banker to the Government:

Performs merchant banking functions for the central and the state governments; also acts as their banker.


Banker to banks:

Maintains banking accounts of all scheduled banks.



The instruments of monetary policy are tools or devices which are used by the monetary authority in order to attain some predetermined objectives.





Repo is a transaction wherein securities are sold by the RBI and simultaneously repurchased at a fixed price. This fixed price is determined in context of an interest rate called the repo rate. The higher the repo rate, more costly are the funds for banks and hence, higher will be the rate that banks pass on to customers. A high rate signals that access to money is expensive for banks; lesser credit will flow into the system that helps bring down liquidity in the economy. The reverse is the reverse repo rate, which banks use to park excess money with RBI.



This is the percentage of a bank's total deposit that needs to be kept as cash with the RBI. The central bank can change the ratio to a limit. A high percentage means banks have less to lend, which curbs liquidity; a low CRR does the opposite. The RBI can reduce or raise CRR to tighten or ease liquidity as the situation demands.



This refers to buying and selling of government securities by RBI to regulate short-term money supply. If RBI wants to induce liquidity or more funds into the system, it will buy government securities and inject funds, and if it wants to curb the amount of money out there, it will sell these to banks, thereby reducing the amount of cash that banks have. RBI uses this tool actively even outside of its monetary policy review to manage liquidity on a regular basis.



This is the percentage of banks' total deposits that they are needed to invest in government approved securities. The lesser the amount of SLR, the more banks have to lend outside. The SLR has been brought down from 22% to 21.5% in this policy and the endeavour will be to reduce it by 0.25% every quarter till 31 March 2017.



This is the re-discounting rate that RBI extends to banks against securities such as bills of exchange, commercial papers and any other approved securities. In recent years, it has been the repo rather than the bank rate that has acted as a guideline for banks to set their interest rates. It is currently at 8.25%. Directionally, bank rate follows repo.

In addition to these measures, RBI also uses many qualitative tools to regulate credit flow and cost of credit to the economy and specific sectors within it.


Demonetisation and RBI

  • The government had "advised" the Reserve Bank to junk `500/1000 notes on November 7, 2016.
  • The RBFs Central Board met the very next day to consider the government's advice.
  • After "deliberations," RBI decided to "recommend that the legal tender status of the banknotes in the high denominations of ` 500 and ` 1000 be withdrawn.

RBI under the Section 20 of the RBI Act 1934 has the obligation to undertake the receipts and payments of the Central Government and to carry out the exchange, remittance and other banking operations, including the management of the public debt of the Union.

State Government transactions are carried out by RBI in terms of the agreement entered into with the State Governments in terms of section 21 A of the Act. As of now, such agreements exist between RBI and all the State Governments except Government of Sikkim.


Fully Owned RBI Subsidiaries:

  1. National Housing Bank (NHB)
  2. Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee Corporation of India (DICGC).
  3. Bharatiya Reserve Bank Note Mudran Private Limited (BRBNMPL)



Has 19 regional offices, most of them in state capitals and 9 Sub-offices.

Governors of Reserve Bank of India



Term of office




Osborne Smith

1 April 1935

30 June 1937


James Braid Taylor

1 July 1937

17 February 1943


C. D. Deshmukh

11 August 1943

30 June 1949


Benegal Rama Rau

1 July 1949

14 January 1957


K. G. Ambegaonkar

14 January 1957

28 February 1957


H. V. R. lyengar

1 March 1957

28 February 1962


P. C. Bhattacharya

1 March 1962

30 June 1967


L. K. Jha

1 July 1967

3 May 1970


B. N. Adarkar

4 May 1970

15 June 1970


S. Jagannathan

16 June 1970

19 May 1975


N. C. Sen Gupta

19 May 1975

19 August 1975


K. R. Puri

20 August 1975

2 May 1977


M. Narasimham

3 May 1977

30 November 1977


I. G. Patel

1 December 1977

15 September 1982


Manmohan Singh

16 September 1982 

14 January 1985


Amitav Ghosh

15 January 1985

4 February 1985


R. N. Malhotra

4 February 1985

22 December 1990


S. Venkitaramanan

22 December 1990

21 December 1992


C. Rangarajan

22 December 1992

21 November 1997


Bimal Jalan

22 November 1997

6 September 2003


Y. V. Reddy

6 September 2003

5 September 2008


D. Subbarao

5 September 2008

4 September 2013


Raghuram Rajan

4 September 2013

4 September 2016


Urjit patel

4 September 2016




Reserve Bank of India - Brief History


Royal Commission on Indian Currency and Finance popularly known as the Hilton-Young Commission submitted its report and made recommendations to the British Government of India for creation of a central Bank.


• To separate the control of currency and credit from the government

• To augment banking facilities throughout the country.


White Paper on Indian Constitutional Reforms recommended the creation of a Reserve Bank. A fresh bill was introduced in the Legislative Assembly.


The Bill was passed and received the Governor General's assent

April 1, 1935

• Reserve Bank of India was established via the RBI Act of 1934 as the banker to the central government.

• RBI launched its operations from April 1, 1935.

• Its headquarters were in Kolkata in the beginning, but it was shifted to Shaheed Bhagat Singh Marg, Mumbai in 1937.

• RBI started as a privately owned bank. It started with a Share Capital of ` 5 Crore, divided into shares of  100 each fully paid up.

• In the beginning, this entire capital was owned by private shareholders. Out of this ` 5 Crore, the amount of ` 4,97,8000 was subscribed by the private shareholders while ` 2,20,000 was subscribed by central government.


Reserve Bank ceased to be the currency issuing authority of Burma (now Myanmar).


Reserve Bank stopped acting as banker to the Government of Burma.


Reserve Bank stopped rendering central banking services to Pakistan.


• Government of India nationalized the Reserve Bank under the Reserve Bank (Transfer of Public Ownership) Act, 1948.

• Thus, the government passed Reserve Bank (Transfer to Public Ownership) Act, 1948 and took over RBI from private shareholders after paying appropriate compensation. Thus, nationalisation of RBI took place in 1949 and from January 1, 1949, RBI started working as a government owned central bank of India.

• Banking Regulation Act was enacted.


Acts administered by Reserve Bank of India

  • Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934
  • Public Debt Act, 1944/Government Securities Act, 2006
  • Government Securities Regulations, 2007
  • Banking Regulation Act, 1949
  • Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999
  • Securitization and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act, 2002
  • Credit Information     Companies (Regulation) Act, 2005
  • Payment and Settlement Systems Act, 2007
  • Payment and Settlement Systems Regulations, 2008 and Amended up to 2011 and BPSS Regulations, 2008
  • The Payment and Settlement Systems (Amendment) Act, 2015 - No. 18 of 2015
  • Factoring Regulation Act, 2011


Other relevant Acts

  • Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881
  • Bankers' Books Evidence Act, 1891
  • State Bank of India Act, 1955
  • Companies Act, 1956/ Companies Act, 2013
  • Securities Contract (Regulation) Act, 1956
  • State Bank of India Subsidiary Banks) Act, 1959
  • Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee Corporation Act, 1961
  • Banking Companies (Acquisition and Transfer of Undertakings) Act, 1970
  • Regional Rural Banks Act, 1976
  • Banking Companies (Acquisition and Transfer of Undertakings) Act, 1980
  • National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development Act, 1981
  • National Housing Bank Act, 1987
  • Recovery of Debts Due to Banks and Financial Institutions Act, 1993
  • Competition Act, 2002
  • Indian Coinage Act, 2011 : Governs currency and coins
  • Banking Secrecy Act
  • The Industrial Development Bank (Transfer of Undertaking and Repeal) Act, 2003
  • The Industrial Finance Corporation (Transfer of Undertaking and Repeal) Act, 1993





Headed by

Mundra Committee-To Speed up the Process of Recalibration of ATMs

November 2016

S.S. Mundra

To study the regulatory issues relating to Financial Technology (Fintech) and Digital Banking in India

June 2016


PJ Nayak Committee-To Review Governance of Boards of Banks in India

June 2016

P J Nayak

To look at the various facets of household finance in India and to benchmark India's position

August 2016

Dr. TarunRamadorai

Working Group on Import Data Processing and Monitoring System

April 2016

A. K. Pandey

Working group on Interest Rate Options

February 2016

P. G. Apte

Advisory Committee on Ways and Means Advances to State Governments January 2016 Sumit Bose Committee on Medium term Path on Financial Inclusion

December 2015

Deepak Mohanty

Committee on Differential Premium System for Banks in India

September 2015

Jasbir Singh

Working Group on Compilation of Flow of Funds Accounts for Indian Economy August

August 2015

D. K. Mohanty

High Powered Committee on Urban Co-operative Banks (UCBs)

June 2015

R. Gandhi

Committee on Data Standardization

March 2015

LP. Parthasarathi

Internal Working Group (IWG) to Revisit the Existing Priority Sector Lending Guidelines

March 2015

Lily Vadera

Committee on Capacity Building in Banks and Non-Banks

September 2014

G. Gopalakrishna

Committee on Implementation of Countercyclical Capital Buffer

July 2014

B. Mahapatra

Committee on Data and Information Management in the Reserve Bank of India

July 2014

D. K. Mohanty

Committee on productivity growth for the Indian Economy

June 2014

B. N. Goldar

Committee to Review Governance of Boards of Banks in India

May 2014

P. J. Nayak

Working group on resolution Regime for Financial Institutions

May 2014

Anand Sinha

GIRO Advisory group - UmeshBellur group on enabling PKI in Payment System Applications

April 2014 

Anil Kumar Sharma

Committee on licensing of new Urban Cooperative Banks

September 2011

Malegam Committee

Committee on issues and concerns in the NEFC Sector

August 2011

Usha Throat





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