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Consolidation of Regional Rural Banks

Rural banking institutions play a very vital role in the all-round development of rural areas of the country to support the rural banking sector in recent years; these Banks are originated everywhere in the country with the target of meeting the credit desires of the most underprivileged sections of the society. These Regional Rural Banks (hereafter referred to as RRBs) are receiving a high degree of importance and spotlight within the rural credit system.

Considering the gross absence of banking facilities within the rural areas of the country, the RBI in consulting with the Central Government, State Governments and a few major nationalized sponsored banks had originated some RRBs within the late The 1970s intending to elevate the economic status of the rural poor likewise to inculcate a habit of saving among the rural masses.

The RRB Act was passed in the year 1976. The share of Sponsor Banks in the Regional Rural Banks is 35%. The first RRB was set up in India was Prathama Bank. The first RRB was to be set up in the Eastern Region of India was Gour Gramin Bank. Uttar Pradesh has the highest number of RRBs in India.

RRBs were set up by the Government of India under the RRB Act, 1976, with the specific purpose of providing credit and other facilities to the small and marginal farmers, agricultural laborers, and small entrepreneurs in rural areas. The existing credit agencies, namely, the cooperative and commercial banks, were not able to meet the necessities of the rural people in general and the rural poor in particular.

The cooperative banks had a weak structure and were heavily dependent upon the RBI. They were unable to mobilize resources or provide post-credit supervision or recover loans. Though the commercial banks did not share these shortcomings, because of their urban orientation, they were not familiar with the local customs, thinking patterns or problems, of high overheads; they could not understand their needs.

At the same time, because of high costs, they could not provide cheap credits.[1] At present, there are 196 RRBs in India, 29 of which have a negative net worth of about Rs1,800 crores.[2] They have a network of 14,519 branches with an average credit deposit ratio of less than 60 percent. RRBs are operating across 518 districts in 26 states.[3]

RRBs have been jointly set up by the Government of India, the State Government, and the sponsor commercial bank. Each RRB operates within specified locals limits. If necessary, an RRB can establish branches or agencies at places notified by the Government, which are usually adjoining districts. Of the issued capital, 50 percent is subscribed by the Central Government, 15 percent by the sponsor bank.[4] Apart from adhering to the share capital, sponsor banks also provide managerial assistance, help in recruitment and training of personnel during the initial period of its functioning.

Every RRB is authorized to carry on the business of banking as defined in the Banking Regulation Act, 1949[5]. It may also carry on any other companies specified in Section 6(1) of the Act. It is engaged in[6]

Granting loans and advances to small and marginal farmers and agricultural laborers both at the individual level as well as in groups to cooperative societies, including agrarian marketing societies or farmers service societies for agricultural and related operations.
Granting loans and advances to people who are engaged in trade, commerce, industry, or other production activities within its area of operations.

Management of each RRB is vested in a nine-member board of directors, headed by a Chairman, appointed by the Government of India. While discharging their functions, they have to cover the commercial angle, and at the same time, follow the directive principle issued by the Government. For example, they can appoint officers and employees, but their salary structure is prescribed by the Government according to the one existing in the state where the bank is located.
After the RRB Amendment Act, 1987, the following changes have come into force:[7]

The authorized capital was raised from Re 1 to Rs five crores.

The chairman is to be appointed by the concerned sponsor bank in consultation with National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (hereafter referred to as NABARD).

Sponsor banks have to subscribe to the share capital as well as impart training to the personnel and provide managerial and financial assistance for the first five years of its functioning.

The amalgamation of two or more RRBs can be done with the consultation of NABARD, concerned state government, and the sponsor bank.

Sponsor banks are empowered to monitor the progress of their RRBs from time to time, to conduct inspections, internal audits, and to suggest measures to RRBs wherever necessary.

From 5th July 2007, RBI has allowed RRBs to accept foreign currency deposits from NRIs and persons of Indian origin.[8]

What is the progress made so far by RRBs

Meanwhile, the RRBs have expanded their system all through the nation to a significant degree. At first, there were 196 local country banks working in 28 states with almost 14,700 branches. Till June 1996, these RRBs have been loaning every year approximately Rs1500 crore to the country individuals, and more than 90 percent of the credit has been progressed to flimsier segments.

As in September 1990, the RRBs had progressed mutually to the tune of Rs3,560 crores as momentary harvest credits, term advances for agrarian exercises, for rustic artisans, house and town ventures, direct exchange, independent work tasks, and utilization advances and so on.

Among every one of the states, Uttar Pradesh is where a more significant number of RRB branches have just been opened. As of late, after amalgamation, the quantity of RRBs has been diminished to 92.

During the most recent 30 years, RRBs have been partaking effectively in different projects intended for giving credit help to recognized recipients included under the new 20 Point Program, IRDP, and various projects designed for booked stations and clans. RRBs are likewise propelling credits to more fragile segments and physically incapacitated people under the differential pace of modern (DIR) plans.

Toward the finish of June 2014, there were 92 amalgamated RRBs, covering 518 locales of the nation with a system of 18,291 branches. Out of every one of these parts of RRBs, 4,042 are the country branches as on 30th June 2014, which establishes about 21.4 percent of the complete parts of RRBs.

The credits and advances remained at Rs7,852.7 crores as toward the finish of September 1996. Once more, Rs15,423 crores were activated as stores by RRBs toward the finish of September 1996. Ensuing upon the consent of the Reserve Bank of India to decide their own loaning rate with impact from 26th August 1996, the vast majority of the RRBs have been charging financing costs on their advances changing between 13.5 to 19.5 percent per annum.

As of late, under the milder intrigue system, financing costs on credits progressed by RRBs have additionally declined significantly. Once more, the aggregate sum of loan progressed to the farming by the RRBs expanded significantly from Rs6,069.79 crores in 2002-03 to Rs43,968 crores in 2010-11.

Chalapathi Rao Committee on Regional Rural Banks has likewise prescribed privatization of benefit, making RRBs in a staged way.

So as to make Financial Inclusion Arrangement of the administration successful and to grow the entrance of the banking system in unbanked and under-banked provincial regions, rustic territorial banks (RRBs) likewise worked out its branch extension plan for 2011-12 and 2012-13 with 10 percent expansion over the earlier year.

As needs are, RRBs could open 913 branches in 2011-12 against its objective of opening 1247 branches. This figure contrasts positively and that of the opening of 521 branches in 2010-11 and 299 offices in 2009-10. For 2012-13, an objective of opening 1845 new branches has additionally been set.

The evaluation by the committee

RRB has gained excellent ground in progressing different sorts of credit to the more fragile and under a particular area of the rustic culture. According to the ongoing RBI report, "The RRBs have fared well in accomplishing the goal of giving access to weaker segments of the general public to institutional credit, yet the recuperation position of all isn't good."

The working of RRBs was assessed by the Narasimham Committee on the Financial System. In spite of the fact that RRBs were set up so as to give a minimal effort option in contrast to the activity of a business bank offices, especially in the rustic regions yet the working of RRBs was not sufficient.

The Committee referenced three fundamental issues of RRBs:

  1. RRBs have a low acquiring limit due to such vast numbers of limitations put on the business attempted by these banks;
  2. With the ongoing honor of a council, the wages and pay sizes of RRBs would be like that of business banks, and in this manner, the general concept of ease option in contrast to the activity of business bank has been invalidated; and
  3. The very region of tasks of RRBs is additionally being used by the supporting banks by running their own country branches promoting specific abnormalities like duplication of administrations and uses control and organization.
In this manner, the Narasimham Committee is of the feeling that the reasonability of RRBs ought to be improved without relinquishing the essential goal. The GovernmentGovernment ought to likewise attempt to develop a country banking structure and base of RRBs with sufficient money related quality and the Board and hierarchical aptitudes of the business banks.
In any case, there are some inborn variables that are particularly answerable for this non-suitable nature of RRBs.

These include:
  1. RRBs can set up its branches for the most part in uneven and under-banked zones;
  2. The loaning activities of RRBs are mainly limited to target gathering made out of little borrowers of country and semi-urban territories; and
  3. The pace of intrigue charged by RRBs on their advance is nearly lower.

The Committee to Review Arrangements for Institutional Credit for Agriculture and Rural Development (CRAFCARD) has additionally shown the equivalent previously mentioned reasons liable for developing the non-suitability of RRBs.

Functional superiority
RRBs have likewise settled useful predominance over other business banks of the nation. This predominance of RRBs has been brought out by the portion of stores contributed by these branch workplaces of RRBs in various states. The proportion of stores of these parts of RRBs in December 1991 out of a state like Uttar Pradesh was 25.7 percent in contrast with that of just 12.4 percent for other Scheduled Commercial Banks.

Another significant issue that has likewise been seen is that the vast majority of the parts of RRBs are opened in unbanked focuses, and in this manner, the stores assembled by them are crisp stores and are not redirected from the stores per part of RRBs built up before 1980 is consistently higher in practically every one of the conditions of the nation. In regard to credit activities, RRBs were fruitful in recognizing the objective gatherings and furthermore in meeting their credit prerequisites.

Unsatisfactory performance of the RRBs

RRBs have been encountering an unacceptable execution since the most recent couple of years. Along these lines, the RRBs have now turned into a significant issue for the Indian Banking segment. They are currently a long way from satisfying reasons for which they were set up nearly two decades back.

These RRBs have been acquiring overwhelming misfortunes quite a long time after year. In 1990-91, the RRBs brought about a complete loss of Rs 92.87 crore, trailed by Rs 258.66 crore during 1991-92. In 1993-94, 173 out of the nation's 196 RRBs brought about misfortunes to the tune of Rs 310 crore.

According to the most recent information accessible with the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), the complete gathered misfortunes of all Regional Rural Banks, working in the nation are evaluated at Rs 2,176 crore as on 31st March 1996.

It is, consequently, not astonishing that these banks, built up to give a force to rustic development, have bleakly neglected to help the agro-based provincial economy. One of the significant contributory variables answerable for the mounting misfortunes endured by the RRBs has been high overheads, in which a sizeable segment is pay rates. Representatives of RRBs prior got smaller sizes of pay rates contrasted with their partners in the planned nationalized banks.

In any case, in 1990, with the usage of the National Industrial Tribunal (NIT) Award, if there should arise an occurrence of the representatives of the RRBs, the structure of their remittances were carried at standard with that of the staff of the planned business banks.
The NIT grant has improved the compensation remittance bill of RRBs by 35 percent during the most recent three years, aside from increment in its other corresponding use. In addition, it likewise put on the bank's shoulder an arrear weight of Rs 225 crore.

While the yearly compensation obligation of the RRBs has expanded generously, their salary was declining quickly by virtue of insufficient credit recuperations and meager benefits. Just 23 of the 196 RRBs were making a benefit, and the rest were all running misfortunes. The total degree of trouble toward the finish of March 1994 was Rs 906 crore.

In the most recent three years, the credit-store proportion of RRBs had additionally declined from 85.6 in 1989-90 to as low as 68.7 in 1991-92. Furthermore, the expanding number of defaulters has hampered the reusing of money. In 1992, the credit over-contribution remained at Rs 1,314 crore.

Weakness or the problems faced by RRBs:

Despite the fact that RRBs had a fast extension of the branch system and increment in the volume of business, these organizations experienced an extremely troublesome transformative procedure due to the following issues:
  1. The limited territory of tasks
  2. High hazard because of presentation just to the objective gathering
  3. Open discernment that RRBs are poor man's banks
  4. Mounting misfortunes due to non-reasonable degree of activities in branches situated at poor asset regions.
  5. Switch over to limit venture banking as a turn-over procedure
  6. Overwhelming dependence on support banks for speculation roads with low returns excepting exemptions, step-nurturing treatment from support banks.
  7. Director of RRBs under the bearing of Regional Managers delegated as Board of Chiefs by support banks
  8. Weight of government appropriation plans and insufficient information of clients prompting low-quality resources
  9. The genuine undermining of the Board by impulses to admire support banks, GOI, NABARD, and RBI for endless choices.
  10. RRB hampered by a no matter how you look at its prohibition on enrolment of staff.

Restructuring for improvement

The current circumstance is compelling the bank to start remedial measures to return them in the stream. The legislature of India has attempted the rebuilding of the RRBs. Towards that end, their issue capital has been raised on account of 140 banks and Rs 50 lakh in the rest of the cases. An arrangement of Rs 5 crore for a reason for existing was made by the administration during 1993-94.

In accordance with the administration's engaged methodology for improving the practicality of the Regional Rural Banks in the nation, upwards of 136 RRBs have been given money related help to the tune of Rs 573 crore for their far-reaching redoing. By agreeing to need to the restoration of practical RRBs as opposed to handling the issue in a summed up way, it is required to cut down extensively the misfortunes of RRBs and make them remain without anyone else feet.

The RBI has completely deregulated the financing costs that can be charged to definitive borrowers by the RRBs. Presently there is even a transition to consolidate all the 92 RRBs to shape a National Rural Bank of India, for which NABARD would contribute 76 percent of the equity. Years


In line with the reform of the banking industry, professional teams were ingrained to look at the foremost issue regarding social control and money restructuring of RRBs to plot the future course of action in their any reorganization and to review the role that may be allotted to help teams' and NGOs in raising the rural credit delivery system.
To know that the restructuring of RRBs is sustained and sturdy, prudent norms were introduced in 1996 on the lines of these for industrial banks.

Consolidation on government agenda
The Government has stepped up for consolidation of RRBs supported by a similar bank inside a state. This would broaden the circle and zone of banks' activity and fortify their working to expand the progression of credit in the country zones.

Some RRBs will be merged with their sponsoring banks, said a senior finance ministry official aware of the deliberations. The officials said that they are exploring all possibilities to strengthen the RRBs further. In some cases, it is being looked at if they can be merged with their sponsoring banks for better operational efficiencies and to achieve economies of scale.[9]

Their overhead expenses, optimize the use of technology, enhance the capital base and area of operation and increase exposure, the Government had said that RRBs have stiff competition from small financial banks and non-banking finance companies. They need to offer differentiated products to play a more significant role in financial inclusion and meeting the credit requirements of rural areas. The NABARD periodically reviews their business performance through empowered committee meetings at the state level. The government in the budget 2019-20 has allocated 236 crores towards the capitalization of RRBs.[10]

Suggestions for improvement:

  1. The Government ought to urge and bolster banks to make fitting strides in provincial improvement.
  2. Endeavors are made to guarantee that the non-intrigue cost of credit to little borrowers is kept as low as would be prudent.
  3. The strategy ought to be made by the Government for opening more branches in more fragile and remote zones of the state.
  4. Profitability can be improved by controlling the expenses and expanding the salary.
  5. The RRBs must be cautious and diminish the working costs since it has been found from our examination that these costs have expanded the absolute consumption of the banks.
  6. The RRBs need to give due to the inclination to the smaller scale credit conspire and support in the arrangement of self-improvement gathering.
  7. Agreeable social orders might be permitted to promote or co-support with business banks in the foundation of the RRB.
  8. A uniform example of a loan fee the structure ought to be formulated for the country money related offices.
  9. The RRB must reinforce successfully credit organization by method for credit examination, observing the advancement of advances and their productive recuperation.
  10. The credit strategy of the RRB ought to be founded on the gathering approach of financing rustic exercises.
  11. The RRB may loosen up their technique for loaning and make them simpler for town borrowers.

To close, the quick extension of RRB has helped in lessening the provincial aberrations significantly in regard to banking offices in India. The endeavors made by RRB in-branch expansion, store activation, country advancement, and credit sending in more fragile areas of country regions are calculable. RRB effectively accomplish its targets like to take banking to entryway steps of country families especially in banking denied rustic part, to benefit simple and less expensive credit to the more fragile rural area who are subject to private moneylenders, to support provincial reserve funds for profitable exercises, to create work in country territories and to bring down the expense of providing credit in rural regions. Therefore RRB is giving the most grounded banking system. The Government should find a way to make Rural Banks feasible.

Territorial Rural Banks assumes an essential job as a significant vehicle of credit conveyance in provincial territories with the target of credit dispersal to little, minor ranchers and socio financially more fragile area of the populace for the improvement of farming, exchange, and industry. But still, it's business practicality has been addressed because of its restricted business adaptability, littler size of credit, and high hazard in advance and advances.

Rustic banks need to evacuate the absence of straightforwardness in their activity, which prompts inconsistent connection among broker and client. Banking staff ought to interface more with their clients to beat this issue. Banks should open their branches in zones where clients are not ready to profit banking offices. In this aggressive period, RRBs need to focus on quick, subjective, and secure banking administrations to hold existing clients and draw in potential clients.

  1. Jyotsna Sethi and Nishwan Bhatia, Elements of Banking and Insurance 31 (PHI Learning Pvt. Ltd, Delhi, 2018)
  2. The Hindustan Times, 7th July 2007
  3. (Last Modified 29th May 2020)
  4. Jyotsna Sethi and Nishwan Bhatia, Elements of Banking and Insurance 32 (PHI Learning Pvt. Ltd, Delhi, 2018
  5. The Banking Regulation Act, 1949, India available at (Last Modified 29th May 2020)
  6. Supra note 4
  7. Jyotsna Sethi and Nishwan Bhatia, Elements of Banking and Insurance 33 (PHI Learning Pvt. Ltd, Delhi, 2018)
  8. The Economic Times, 6th July 2007, p. 20
  9. (Last Modified 29th May 2020)

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