In India the Reserve Bank of India is the central Banking Authority. It is also referred to as “Apex bank”. All the banks in India functions under The Reserve Bank of India Act 1934. A bank is a financial institution and a financial intermediary that accepts deposits and channels those deposits into lending activities, either directly or through capital markets. A bank connects customers that have capital deficits to customers with capital surpluses.
Due to their critical status within the financial system and the economy generally, banks are highly regulated in most countries. They are generally subject to minimum capital requirements which are based on an international set of capital standards, known as the Basel Accords.
Banking in India originated in the last decades of the 18th century. The first banks were The General Bank of India, which started in 1786, and Bank of Hindustan, which started in 1790; both are now defunct. The oldest bank in existence in India is the State Bank of India, which originated in the Bank of Calcutta in June 1806, which almost immediately became the Bank of Bengal. This was one of the three presidency banks, the other two being the Bank ofBombay and the Bank of Madras, all three of which were established under charters from the British East India Company. For many years the Presidency banks acted as quasi-central banks, as did their successors. The three banks merged in 1921 to form the Imperial Bank of India, which, upon India’s independence, became the State Bank of India in 1955.
Structure of Indian Banking
As per Section 5(b) of the Banking Regulation Act 1949: “Banking” means the accepting, for the purpose of lending or investment, of deposits of money from the public, repayable on demand or otherwise, and withdrawal by cheque, draft,
order or otherwise.” All banks which are included in the Second Schedule to the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934 are scheduled banks. These banks comprise Scheduled Commercial Banks and Scheduled Cooperative Banks. Scheduled Commercial Banks in India are categorized into five different groups according to their ownership and / or nature of operation. These bank groups
(i) State Bank of India and its Associates,
(ii) Nationalised Banks,
(iii) Regional Rural Banks,
(iv) Foreign Banks and
(v) Other Indian Scheduled Commercial Banks (in the private sector).
Besides the Nationalized banks (majority equity holding is with the Government), the State Bank of India (SBI) (majority equity holding being with the Reserve Bank of India) and the associate banks of SBI (majority holding being with State Bank of India), the commercial banks comprise foreign and Indian private banks. While the State bank of India and its associates, nationalized banks and Regional Rural Banks are constituted under respective enactments of the Parliament, the private sector banks are banking companies as defined in the Banking Regulation Act. These banks, along with regional rural banks, constitute the public sector (state owned) banking system in India. The Public Sector Banks in India are back bone of the Indian financial system.
The cooperative credit institutions are broadly classified into urban credit cooperatives and rural credit cooperatives. Schedul
ed Co-operative Banks consist of Scheduled State Co-operative Banks and Scheduled Urban Co-operative Banks.
Regional Rural Banks (RRB’s) are state sponsored, regionally based and rural oriented commercial banks. The Government of India promulgated the Regional Rural Banks Ordinance on 26th September 1975, which was later replaced by the Regional Rural Bank Act 1976. The preamble to the Act states the objective to develop rural economy by providing credit and facilities for the development of agriculture, trade, commerce, industry and other productive activities in the rural areas, particularly to small and marginal farmers, agricultural labourers, artisans and small entrepreneurs.
The Government of India issued an ordinance and nationalised the 14 largest commercial banks with effect from the midnight of July 19, 1969. Within two weeks of the issue of the ordinance, the Parliament passed the Banking Companies (Acquisition and Transfer of Undertaking) Bill, and it received the presidential approval on 9 August 1969. The need for the nationalisation was felt mainly because private commercial banks were not fulfilling the social and developmental goals of banking whichare so essential for any industrialising country. Despite the enactment of the Banking Regulation Act in 1949 and the nationalisat
ion of the largest bank, the State Bank of India, in 1955, the expansion of commercial banking had largely excluded rural areas and small-scale borrowers. A second dose of nationalization of 6 more commercial banks followed in 1980. The stated reason for the nationalization was to give the government more control of credit delivery. With the second dose of nationalization, the
Government of India controlled around 91% of the banking business of India. Later on, in the year 1993, the government merged New Bank of India with Punjab National Bank. It was the only merger between nationalized banks and resulted in the reduction of the number of nationalised banks from 20 to 19. After this, until the 1990, the nationalised banks grew at a pace of around 4%, closer to the average growth rate of the Indian economy.
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