Historical Antecedents of RBI


In India, the efforts to establish a banking institution with central banking character dates back to the late 18th century. The Governor of Bengal in British India recommended the establishment of a General Bank in Bengal and Bihar. The Bank was set up in 1773 but it was short-lived. It was in the early 20th century that, consequent to the recommendations of the Chamberlain Commission (1914) proposing the amalgamation of the three Presidency Banks, the Imperial Bank of India was formed in 1921 to additionally carry out the functions of central banking along with commercial banking.
 In 1926, the Royal Commission on Indian Currency and Finance (Hilton Young Commission) recommended that the dichotomy of functions and divisions of responsibilities for control of currency and credit should be ended. The Commission suggested the establishment of a central bank to be called the Reserve Bank of India, whose separate existence was considered necessary for augmenting banking facilities throughout the country. The Bill to establish the RBI was introduced in January 1927 in the Legislative Assembly, but it was dropped due to differences in views regarding ownership, constitution and composition of its Board of Directors.
Finally, a fresh Bill was introduced in 1933 and passed in 1934. The RBI Act came into force on January 1, 1935. The RBI was inaugurated on April 1, 1935 as a shareholders’ institution and the Act provided for the appointment by the Central Government of the Governor and two Deputy Governors. The RBI was nationalized on January 1, 1949 in terms of the Reserve Bank of India (Transfer to Public Ownership) Act, 1948 (RBI, 2005b).

Monday, 08th Feb 2016, 11:32:40 AM

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