Role of Banking and Finance in Indian Economy
The Indian money market is classified into the organised sector, comprising private, public and foreign owned commercial banks and cooperative banks, together known as scheduled banks, and the unorganised sector, which includes individual or family owned indigenous bankers or money lenders and non-banking financial companies. . Prime Minister Indira Gandhi nationalised 14 banks in 1969, followed by six others in 1980, and made it mandatory for banks to provide 40% of their net credit to priority sectors like agriculture, small-scale industry, retail trade, small businesses, etc. to ensure that the banks fulfill their social and developmental goals. Since then, the number of bank branches has increased from 8,260 in 1969 to 72,170 in 2007 and the population covered by a branch decreased from 63,800 to 15,000 during the same period. The total bank deposits increased from 59.1 billion (US$960 million) in 1970–71 to 38309.22 billion (US$620 billion) in 2008–09. Despite an increase of rural branches, from 1,860 or 22% of the total number of branches in 1969 to 30,590 or 42% in 2007, only 32,270 out of 500,000 villages are covered by a scheduled bank.
Banking system plays a very significant role in the economy of a country. It is central to a nation’s economy as it caters to the needs of credit for all the sections of the society. Money-lending in one form or the other has evolved along with the history of mankind. Even in the ancient times, there are references to the money-lenders, in the form of sahukars and zamindars who lend money by mortgaging the land property of the borrowers.
Towards the beginning of the 20 century, with the onset of modern industry in our country, the need for government-regulated banking system was felt. The British government began to pay attention towards the need for an organized banking sector in the country and the Reserve Bank of India was set up to regulate the formal banking sector in the country.
India is not only the world’s largest independent democracy, but also an emerging economic giant. Without a sound and effective banking system, no country can have a health economy.
Agriculture in India has a significant history and it is demographically the broadest economic sector and plays a significant role in the overall socio-economic fabric of India. Finance in agriculture is an important as development of technologies. A dynamic and growing agricultural sector needs adequate finance through banks to accelerate overall growth.
The government has allocated 10000 crore to the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) for refinancing Regional Rural Banks (RRBs) to disburse short term crop loans to small and marginal farmers.
Today, the banking sector is one of the biggest service sectors in India. Availability of quality services is vital for the well-being of the economy.Various customer-oriented products like internet banking, ATM services, telebanking and electronic payment have lessened the workload of customers. The facility of internet banking enables a consumer to access and operate his bank account without actually visiting the bank premises. The facility of ATMs and credit/debit cards has revolutionized the choices available with the customers. Banks also serve as alternative gateways for making payments on account of income-tax and online payment of various bills like the telephone, electricity and tax. In the modern-day economy where people have not time to make these payments by standing in queue, the services provided by banks are commendable.
To conclude, we can say that the modern economies of the world have developed primarily by making best use of the credit availability in their systems. India is on the march; far reaching socio-economic changes are taking place and Indian banks should come forward to play this role in the process. The role of banks has been important, but it is going to be even more important in the future.