Reserve Bank of India is the controller of the Indian financial system and the ultimate head of all the banks in the country. The Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934 laid the foundation of the Reserve Bank ,which commenced its operations on 1st April 1935. RBI was nationalized on 1st January 1949. RBI has been mandated with the job of printing currency notes and managing all the currency related activities in the country. The RBI is headed by a Governor whose signature appears in all the currency notes printed in the country. The current governor is Urjit Patel. RBI is an autonomous monetary authority.
These are the 10 interesting facts about the Reserve Bank of India.
1. Headquarters of RBI
The headquarters of RBI was initially located at Kolkata. It was shifted to Mumbai in the year 1937. RBI also operates two universities for training its staff. One is the Reserve Bank Staff College in Chennai and the other is the College of Agricultural Banking located at Pune, Maharashtra.
2. Dr B.R. Ambedkar’s role
Dr B.R. Ambedkar, father of the Indian constitution, played a major role in the conceptualization of RBI. Dr Ambedkar wrote a book titled “The Problem of Rupee- Its origin and its solution” which contained the guidelines and standards that were accepted by the Regal Commission on Indian Currency and Finance in the year 1925. These standards were finally passed as the RBI act in the year 1934, thus paving the way for the establishment of RBI.
3. Originally a private entity
RBI was founded on April 1, 1935 as a private entity. It was a shareholder’s bank in its initial years. The nationalization of RBI took place in the year 1949 and it became a fully government owned entity. The Indira Gandhi led government Nationalized 14 commercial banks in the year 1969. On her return to power in the year 1980, she nationalised six more commercial banks. The RBI, as a result, became a major financial entity with increased control of the government owned banks.
4. Many roles
RBI was also the central bank of the neighbouring country of Burma until April 1947. This does not include the two years when Burma was under Japanese occupation during the Second World War. RBI acted as the Central Bank of Pakistan after it was created on 14th August 1947. On June 1948, the Central Bank of Pakistan was established after which the RBI ceased to act as the central bank for that country. Therefore, RBI played a dual role in its initial years.
5. Printing notes
The Bharatiya Reserve Bank Note Mudran Private Limited is a subsidiary which is wholly owned by the RBI. It operates two presses where the currency notes are printed at Mysore and Salboni in West Bengal. The notes are also printed in Nashik in Maharashtra, Mysore in Karnataka and Dewas in Madhya Pradesh at the printing presses owned by the Security Printing and Minting Corporation of India Limited under the Government of India. RBI is only entrusted with the task of printing currency notes. The coins in circulation are minted by the Govt. of India and not RBI. Therefore, it is a misconception that both coins and currency notes are produced by the RBI.
6. Woman deputy governor
Even though the RBI has never been headed by a woman till date, it has had a woman deputy governor. K.J. Udeshi is the only woman deputy governor of RBI since its inception in 1935. She was appointed in the year 2003 as the deputy governor of RBI by the then NDA government.
7. Branches of RBI
The RBI operates four zonal offices located at Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai and Mumbai. Its 19 regional offices are located at Ahmedabad, Bhopal, Bhubaneshwar, Chandigarh, Bangalore, Jaipur, Guwahati, Aizawl, Dehradun, Chennai, Jammu, Kochi, Lucknow, Kolkata, Patna, Nagpur, Mumbai, Patna and Thiruvananthapuram. RBI also has regional offices to cover all the four regions of India. The Northern office is located at New Delhi, Southern office is located at Chennai, Western office is located at Mumbai and the Eastern office is located at Kolkata. RBI also has 11 sub-offices.
8. The RBI Logo
The seal of the RBI is based on the East India Company’s double mohur. It was initially decided to make the logo exactly similar to the mohur of the erstwhile East India Company. The logo consisted of a sketch of a lion and a palm tree. However, it was later decided that the lion be replaced by tiger which is the national animal of India. Therefore, the RBI Logo has the sketch of a tiger along with a palm tree.
9. RBI’s Financial year
We all know that the financial year normally commences on April 1 and ends on March 31. This is not true for RBI. The financial year for RBI commences on 1st July and ends on 30th June. This is in variance with all banks and other government owned entities in the country. RBI analyses the accounts of all the banks for about three months and prepares its annual report which delays the starting of its own financial year.
RBI demonetized the currency notes of Rs 5000 and 10,000 in the year 1938. These notes were reintroduced and brought into circulation again in the year 1954 only to be demonetized again in the year 1978. The RBI act of 1934 allows the central bank to print notes of Rs 5000 and 10,000 denominations.