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Banking Sector Reforms in India

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BANKING SECTOR REFORMS IN INDIA

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Introduction:
Financial sector reforms introduced in the early 1990s as a part of the structural reforms have touched upon almost all aspects of banking operation. For a few decades preceding the onset of banking and financial sector reforms in India, banks operated in an environment that was heavily regulated and characterized by sufficient barriers to entry which protected them against too much competition. The banking reform package was based on the recommendation proposed by Narsimhan Committee report (1992) that advocated a move to a more market oriented banking system, which could operate in an environment of prudential regulation and transparent accounting. One of the primary motives behind this drive was to introduce an element of market discipline into the regulatory process that would reinforce the supervisory effort of the reserve bank of
India(RBI). Market discipline, especially in the financial liberalization phase, reinforces regulatory and supervisory efforts and provides a strong incentive to banks to conduct their business in a prudent and efficient manner and to maintain adequate capital as a cushion against risk exposures. The administered interest rate structure, both on the liability and the assets side, allowed banks to earn reasonable spread without much efforts. Although banks operated under regulatory constraints in the form of statutory holding of government securities and the cash reserve ratio (CRR) and lacked functional autonomy and operational efficiency, the fact was that most banks did not efficiently. The functioning of the market’s disciplining mechanism and also the effectiveness of the supervisory process, however, is hindered by weak accounting and legal system, and inadequate transparency of accounting disclosures. From a central bank’s perspective, such high-quality disclosures help…...

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