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[Banking] Monetary Policy: Quantitative & Qualitative Tools,

applications & limitations MSF, LAF, Repo, OMO, CRR, SLR, Revisited
before upcoming Urjit Article

Economy ( / 2 years Ago /


English: SP Bakshi

1. Prologue
2. What is monetary policy?
3. Quantitative Tools

#1: Reserve Ratios (SLR and CRR)


#2: Open Market Operation (OMO)


#3: Policy Rate


Bank Rate
1. Liquidity Adjustment facility (LAF)
2. LAF Repo Rate
3. Marginal Standing facility (MSF)
4. Reverse repo Rate
5. Repo Rate in recent years:

4. Monetary Policy: limitations

5. Qualitative Tools

#1: Margin Requirements/ LTV


#2: Consumer credit regulation


#3: Selective credit control


#4: Moral Suasion

6. Monetary policy tools: Quantiative vs Qualitative

7. Appendix

#1: Why High SLR and High CRR are bad?


#2: Narsimhan (I) Committee 1991


#3: Narsimhan (II) Committee 1998

8. Mock Questions


Next article is about RBI appointed Urjit Patel Committee on Monetary policy framework.
But before dwelling into that, we must recap the basic concepts of what is monetary
policy: its tools and limitations. Otherwise Urjit wont make much sense.
Hence in a way, this whole article is a prologue to next article.

Why RBI and Why Monetary policy?

Initially people used barter system for trading. But the barter system had many problems
(click me ( Therefore, people switched
to money system.
Financial intermediates = middlemen who help in the circular flow of money between
households and business firms.
There are two types of financial intermediaries: banking institution and non-banking
financial institutions.
RBI controls (all) banks and (some) non-banking financial institutions.
RBIs main job is to control Money supply in this game, and thereby fight inflation and
Inflation = price rise = bad for economy, you know that by common sense.
But Deflation = price decrease = we can buy things at a lower price. Isnt that good? Why is
deflation bad for economy?
Ans. Every business has fixed cost of production say minimum light bill, phone bill, office
rent, staff salary etc. So, if prices keep falling and falling (say of Nano car), then car marker
will suffer losses. He has no motivation to expand business. He wants to cut down his
production costs, by firing some of the employees= less new jobs created=
unemployment = social unrest.
If prices of everything fall- then custom duty, VAT, excise duty, service tax- their collection
will also decrease. Then government has less money to spend on education, healthcare,
social sector, defense, law and order = poverty, disease, crime.
by the way



Does RBI
want it?


fall in the prices (and fall IN employment.)



Fall in the prices but without causing


yes (while

stagnation + inflation
prices and wages rise



but people cant find jobs, companies cant find



policy to stop the fall in price levels, but without

causing rise in the price levels (inflation).


What is monetary policy?

Policy made by the central bank.
To control money supply in the economy. (and thereby fight both inflation and deflation).
RBI implements monetary policy using certain tools. Two types

quantitative tool

qualitative tools

Lets start from here.

Quantitative Tools
#1: Reserve Ratios (SLR and CRR)

A Bank has to set aside this much money into gold or RBI approved



A Bank has to set aside this much as reserve. Bank cannot lend it to anyone.
Bank earns no interest rate or profit on this.


Reserve ratio: SLR, CRR

Suppose economy is showing inflationary trend. Prices of all goods and services are
increasing day by day.
How can RBI stop it using Reserve ratio as a tool?

In this case, RBI should RAISE the reserve ratios.

Right now
People deposited total this much money in SBI (net demand & TIME
liabilities NDTL)

100 cr.

CRR (4%) [SBI has to keep this much cash aside for reserve]

-4 cr

SLR (23%) [SBI has to invest this much money in RBI approved

-23 cr.

Money left with SBI


Say RBI raises SRL to 40% and CRR to 15% then?


100 cr

SLR 40


CRR 15


Money left with SBI

45 cr.

You can see, when Rajan has raised reserve ratio, money with SBI is reduced (from 73 crores
to just 45 crores.)
What will be its implication?
Imagine youre a money lender. Youve 100 crore rupees and you must make Rs.1 crore
profit in a year.
Obviously, you should lend it @1% interest rate. (because 1% of 100 crore = 1 crore.)
But what if youve only 2 crore rupees, and you still want to make Rs.1 croer profit in a
Now you must lend it @50% interest rate. (because 50% of 2 cores = 1 crore.)
Observe that as money decreased (from 100 to 2), loan interest rate increased (from 1%
to 50%).

Same happens when SBI is left with less money (after RBI increases reserve ratio).
Lets prepare a flow chart.
Situation: Economy has inflationary trend. Prices of goods and services increasing every day.
Solution: RBI raised reserve ratio (CRR, SLR)
Result: SBI is left with less money to lend.
1. SBI raises its loan interest rate
2. Businessmen borrow less money from SBI
3. Businessmen donot start new business. Donot expand existing business
4. Result=Less jobs. Even existing employees discharged. If anyone remains in the job, he
doesnt get pay raise. He starts cutting down unnecessary expenditure (e.g. buying two
newspapers, getting his shirts ironed, drinking tea @4PM in office and so on. Thus even
paper-wall, dhobi, chai-walla- everyones income reduced.)
5. Result= Less income (Because of above reasons)
6. Result= Less demand of goods and services (because less income).
7. Ultimately shopkeeper will bring down the prices to attract people into buying more
Thus inflation is reduced.
You may doubt- what about supply side bottlenecks, what about cost push and demand pull
inflation : Im not going into all that details at the moment, else this article will become longer
than five kilometers.
Lets just prepare a summary table:


dear money

cheap money


To fight inflation

To fight deflation

Reserve Ratio (CRR, SLR)

Increase them.

Decrease them.

Moving to the next (Quantitative) tool. Under monetary policy

#2: Open Market Operation (OMO)
Open Market Operation= when RBI starts buying/selling government securities to control
money supply.
Government securities= piece of paper. It says something like this give me Rs.100, Ill give
you 8% interest rate for next ten years and after that Ill repay the principle of Rs.100.
This is how government borrows from others.
Situation: Economy has inflationary trend. Prices of goods and services increasing every
Solution: RBI starts selling government securities in open market.
Result: SBI buys them and thus SBIs lending money is reduced. Wait. How?
Imagine Rajan is selling sabzi (vegetables). If SBIs chairman Arundhati Madam goes to buy
vegetables. Obviously madams money will decrease when she buys vegetables.
Then same as usual:
1. SBI left with less money to lend.
2. SBI raises its loan interest rate (to keep profit margin same)
3. Businessmen borrow less money from SBI.
4. Businessmen donot start new business. Donot expand existing business
5. Less jobs
6. Less income
7. Less demand
8. Ultimately shopkeeper will bring down the prices to attract people into buying more
Thus inflation is reduced.
During deflation, RBI will do the reverse. (i.e. RBI buys Sabzi from SBI). How will it stop
deflation? Think in your head.
Lets update our table


dear money

cheap money


To fight inflation

To fight deflation

Reserve Ratio (CRR, SLR)

Increase them.

Decrease them.

Open Market Operation (OMO)

RBI sell securities

RBI buy securities

Mock Question
In 2013, UPSC walla asked a very chillar question from this topic.
In context of Indian Economy, Open Market Operation refers to
a. Borrowing by scheduled banks from RBI
b. Lending by commercial banks to industries and trade
c. Purchase and sale of government securities by the RBI
d. None of Above
Whenever you face a GS/GK type MCQ, Youve three choices

If you dont know the answer, Just leave it instead of risking negative mark.


Correct answer is Opt C.

Mark n

It means youve unsure of the answer. 50:50. So you mark the question number
(say 45), at the back of your question paper. At the end of exam, if youre left
with 10-15 free minutes. You look at the question again, and try to solve it.

So, should you put above question in mark n review?

Because its a definition based question. If you dont know the definition of OMO you
might tick a wrong answer and fail. Most of the sincere players fail in prelims because of
this reason. They push their luck in negative marking to overcome an imaginary cutoff
and thus dig up their own grave. (especially during last 10-15 minutes of the exam.)
Moral of the story: never put fact/definition type MCQs in Mark-n-Review.
Lets solve a bit more complicated MCQ from 2012s CSAT paper.
Q.Which of the following measures would result in an increase in the money supply in

1. Purchase of government securities from public by central bank

2. Deposit of currency in commercial banks by the public
3. Borrowing by government from the central bank.
4. Sale of government securities to the public by central bank.
Answer choice
a. Only 1
b. 2 and 4
c. 1 and 3
d. 2, 3 and 4
Whenever you face such multiple statement type MCQs, always use elimination method.
First find a statement that is definitely right or definitely wrong and eliminate choices
Focus on first statement Purchase of government securities from public by central bank:
will it increase money supply in the system?
Imagine Rajan puts an ad in newspaper: bring your Sabzi (vegetables), Ill buy it. Junta
gives him their own veggies, Rajan gives them money. (a classic buy and sell).
Ultimate result: money supply increased in the system- because junta got the money.
Meaning #1 definitely correct.
If you think it on technical terms. Central bank purchases government securities=OMO
(Open market operation), where money shifts hands from RBI to people.
Hence money supply increased. (In reality, money doesnt go to aam admi directly, but
those bankers and non-banking institutions who participate in OMO). Anyways, #1 is
right, Eliminate choices that do not have #1
a. Only 1
b. 2 and 4
c. 1 and 3
d. 2, 3 and 4
Now the final answer depends on whether statement #3 is right or wrong?
Statement #3 says Borrowing by government from the central bank. (So, will it increase
money supply?)

How does Government borrow from Central bank? Does Mohan just callup Rajan and
demand 1 lakh crores? No. Mohan will have to give Rajan that much government
securities (vegetables) and Rajan will give him cash.
Is money supply increased? Yes Mohan sold veggies to Rajan and got Money. Whenever
Rajan buys veggies and pays the money supply is increased. (this is similar to Open
Market operation)
Besides, Mohan can then use money to pay salaries of government staff, pay for railroad-bridges and other infrastructure projects, pay for MNREGA and so on. Therefore
Answer C: 1 and 3 correct.
Counter- argument?
What if Rajan subsequently sells those (Mohans) securities to bankers. Then bankers
money reduced. Hence #3 is wrong. Therefore final answer A only 1.
So, whats the final answer: is it A or is it C?
Ultimate judge= UPSCs official answer key uploaded on their site.
In 2012s Question paper Test series A, this is Q77: and its official answer is C. Therefore,
both 1 and 3 are correct.
Anyways, what to do in the exam?

If you dont know the concept better skip.


This question is attemptable if you dont drag the logic too much in statement

Mark n

Yes, it can be put under mark and review because this is not an absolute fact/
absolute definition type MCQ. If you apply some concepts, you can eliminate
wrong choices. But still if doubt persists in the mind (e.g whether Statement 3 is
right or not) then its always safe to skip and avoid negative marking.

By the way, What about Statement #2: Deposit of currency in commercial banks by the
public. (Will it increase money supply or not?)
Viewpoint 1: yes. Because bank can used it to expand loanable credit. (as explained in
Money creation topic in Class 12 NCERT Macroeconomics page 39 onwards).

Viewpoint 2: no. (Because Bank will have to put some money aside as CRR- so that much
money is less in the system.)
Either way it doesnt change the answer. Because We know that statement 1 is definitely
correct. And there is no option where (1,2) are given simultaneously.
Anyways, Moving onSo far, RBI has two tools under monetary policy:
1. reserve ratios (SLR, CRR)
2. Open market operation.
Third and the most important quantitative tool is

#3: Policy Rate

Policy rate= in case of India its Repo rate. Before moving further, lets refresh our concepts
of Bank rate, LAF, MSF, Repo and Reverse repo.
Bank Rate
When banks borrow long term funds from RBI. Theyve to pay this much interest rate to
RBI. [Note: different books give different explanation of Bank Rate. Ive used NDTVs
definition (]
At present, Bank rate= 9%
Collateral: nothing. (Bank can borrow money without pledging government securities to
Bank rate is not the main tool to control money supply these days.
Nowadays, RBI uses LAF Repo rate as the main tool, to control money supply.
Ok then Whats the use of Bank rate?
Penal rates are linked with Bank rate. For example, If a bank doesnt maintain CRR, SLR as
per the prescribed limit.
Then RBI can impose penalty interest on such notorious bank.
At present, Penalty rate = Bank rate + 3% (or 5% in some cases)
Meaning if Bank rate = 9% then penalty rate=9+3=12%

Anyways, what if RBI wants to fight inflation using bank rate as a tool?
Obviously they should increase bank rate. That way it becomes harder (more expensive) for
banks to borrow from RBI.=> SBI increases its loan rates (to keep the profit margin same).
Less people get home loan, bike loan, business loans.
Less business expansion
Less jobs
Less incomes
Less demand
Ultimately shopkeeper will bring down the prices to attract people into buying more
Thus inflation is reduced.
Lets update our (stupid) table


dear money

cheap money


To fight inflation

To fight deflation

Reserve Ratio (CRR, SLR)

Increase them.

Decrease them.

Open Market Operation (OMO)

RBI sell securities

RBI buy securities

Bank rate



Liquidity Adjustment facility (LAF)

Liquidity Adjustment facility
RBI started this in 2000. You can imagine it as a Adda/gambling den/gang-hideout where
RBIs clients gather, consumer desi liquor, play cards, watch item songs and borrow
money from RBI (or lend Money to RBI).
By the way, who are the clients of RBI?= Central and state governments, Banks and nonbanking financial institutions (NBFI). NBFI further includes:
AIFI (all India finance institutions) NABARD, SIDBI, EXIM Bank and National Housing
Primary dealers (Morgan Stanley , Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, Standard

Chartered Bank, HSBC etc.)

Non-Banking financial companies.
Anyways, Under this LAF adda, RBI has two tools:


If client borrows money from RBI (for short term) then client has to pay this
much interest rate to RBI. At present Repo is 8%. (article written on 29th Jan


If client lends money to RBI (for short term) then RBI has to pay this much
interest rate to client. RBI doesnt like headache. So they made a simple formula:
Reverse repo rate= Repo MINUS 1%=8-1=7%.

Problem with running a adda/gambling-den = sometimes client drinks too much desi
liquor and passes out on floor. Sometimes he even dies because of hooch. Sometimes
police raids the den, and clients run away with cash and register.
If such things happen, Rajan will be at loss. So, he demands government securities as
collataral. So even if client doesnt repay money on time, Rajan can sell those securities (in
open market operations) and recover money.

LAF Repo Rate

Lets get a bit technically correct now. Observe following image

SBI chairman Arundhati mam wants to borrow Rs.100 crore (for short term).
She gives her stash of government securities to Rajan.
Rajan gives her Rs.100 crore.
Madam Also signs an agreement
I, Arundhati Bhattacharya, agree to buy same securities from Rajan, at 108 crores after
14 days.
Notice that she has agreed to re-purchase same securities from Rajan. Therefore its
called Repo.
And how much interest rate did she pay on this loan? [108-100]/100=8%. Thats our repo
Recall that SBI also has to keep part of her money in RBI approved securities (under SLR).
So Madam cannot USE those government securities to borrow under Repo Rate from

That leads to a new topic

Marginal Standing facility (MSF)

MSF mechanism is same as repo. But some differences

LAF (Repo)
Rajan says dont come here
unless you want to borrow
minimum Rs.5 crores.

Minimum Rs. 1 crore.

All clients are welcome i.e.

Central and state

Sorry. Not all clients welcome here.


Only scheduled commercial banks can borrow under

Banks be it commercial

this window. SBI, PNB, BoB, ICICI etc.

bank or RRB or

This MSF facility is specially created to help them solve

cooperative bank

short-term cash mis-match.

Non-banking financial
You (bankers) cannot pledge
securities from SLR quota to
borrow from this window.

Can use securities from SLR quota.

No limit. You may borrow as

much as you want. (as long as
you have government
securities to pledge to me.)

Maximum 0.75% of NTDL. To put this in crude words, if

SBI received 100 crores from aam-admi under savings
account, current account, fixed deposit etc. then SBI can
borrow only upto Rs.75 lakhs from RBI.

Rajan decides Repo rate (8%

right now)

MSF = Repo Rate +1% = 8+1=9%. (earlier this margin of 1%

used to be higher. But nowadays just 1%!)

for those who still have doubt about Repo vs MSF:

for repo borrowing, bank will need to pledge securities to Rajan. But bank cannot use SLRreserved securities for this.
so, imagine if a bank is in dire need of cash, but doesnt have spare government securitiesthen they can borrow using MSF by pledging those SLR securities. (and under MSF window,
Rajan will demand 1% higher than Repo as one type of punishment for pledging SLR

Reverse repo Rate

Although self-explanatory. But lets check
Repo = clients borrow from Rajan and pay this much interest rate. (short term loan)
Reverse repo= when Rajan himself borrows from clients, then he has to pay this much
interest rate to clients.
Collateral = yes. What if police raids this gambling-den, and Rajan runs away to Nepal?
Clients can sell Rajans Government securities and recover their money.
Reverse repo = Repo MINUS 1% = 8-1% =7%.
Note: in official parlance, they call percentages in basis points so 1%=100 basis points.
So in that official language, Reverse repo = Repo MINUS 100 basis points.
Enough cheap jokes. What have we learned so far?
That Rajan controls money supply using monetary policy.
Under Monetary policy, Rajan has various weapons (or tools)
1. Reserve ratios (SLR, CRR)
2. OMO: Open market operation
3. Rates: Bank rate, LAF (Repo, Reverse repo), MSF.
We already know how to apply SLR, CRR and OMO to fight inflation (and deflation.) let me
paste the table again.


dear money

cheap money


To fight inflation

To fight deflation

Reserve Ratio

Increase them.

Decrease them.

Open Market

RBI sell securities

RBI buy securities

Bank Rate

increase it

decrease it

Repo rate

increase it

decrease it

Reverse Repo

its value is linked with Repo, hence cannot be increased/decreased



its value is linked with Repo, hence cannot be increased/decreased

independently. Besides MSF= temporary firefighting, cash

We learned that Rajan doesnt use Bank rate much, to control money supply.
We learned that Rajan doesnt decide Reverse repo and MSF. (theyre automatically -1%
and +1% of Repo rate).
Thus the only thing Rajan has to decide under monetary policy= Repo rate. Therefore,
Repo rate is called the policy rate
Lets revisit out flow chart:
Situation: Economy has inflationary trend. Prices of goods and services increasing every
Solution: Rajan increases Repo rate. (say from 7.75% to 8%).
Result: it becomes expensive for SBI to borrow from Rajan. Theyll increase their own
rates as well.
Wait. How?
Just like how things roll in Onion biz.
If prices of Onion rise in Maharashtras wholesale yard (in Lasangaon), then immediately,
retail veggie @Ahmedabad will also raise their onion prices to keep the profit margin same.
Whatll be the consequences (if repo rate is hiked / increased)?
1. SBI raises its loan interest rate (to keep profit margin same)
2. Businessmen borrow less money from SBI.
3. Businessmen donot start new business. Donot expand existing business.
4. Less jobs
5. Less income
6. Less demand
7. Ultimately shopkeeper will bring down the prices to attract people into buying more

Thus inflation is reduced.


dear money

cheap money


To fight inflation

To fight deflation

Reserve Ratio (CRR, SLR)

Increase them.

Decrease them.

Open Market Operation (OMO)

RBI sell securities

RBI buy securities

Policy Rate (Repo Rate)

Increase it

Decrease it

Repo Rate in recent years:

Lets observe with a graph: how RBI fought inflation/deflation in recent times using Repo rate
as the main-weapon of monetary policy.


From above above graph, you can see RBI has frequently changed its repo rate to combat
both inflationary and deflationary trend. But Youd agree that inflation has not been
contained. No matter what number juggling or statistical interpretations are given- the
hardship of common man has not stopped- be it milk, petrol, onion, LPG anything.
Agreed that prices of onion, sugar, pulses and food are subject to vagaries of monsoon
and black marketeering. Rajan cannot do anything about it.
Agreed that crude oil prices are subject to rupee-Dollar exchange rate, external factors
and governments de-regulation of their prices. Rajan doesnt have much control over
But still even in the non-food, non-fuel type commodities- RBIs monetary policies have failed
to curb inflation. WHY? Observe the following image.


Suppose Vijay Mallay got 100 crore loan from State Bank of India. If you trace the source of
that money, itll turnout 60-70 crores came from banks savings account, fixed deposit etc.
Rajan lends money in repo rate yes, but that doesnt mean banks depend only on Rajan to
arrange the cash for its clients.
Suppose Rajan reduces repo rate from 8% to 5%. Banks are not legally required to reduce
their loan interest rates.
The current system is following:
Banks are free to decide their base rate. E.g. SBIs base rate is 10%.
It means SBI wont loan money to anyone at an interest rate lower than 10% (except those
farmers under Interest subvention scheme.)
SBI will link all of its loan products with Base rate. For example
SBI Base rate =10%



Car loan

0.75% above Base rate


Two wheeler loan

8.25% above base rate


Education loan (upto 4 lakh)

3.5% above base rate


Home loan for women (upto 75 lakh)

0.10% above base rate


Meaning if SBI changes her Base rate then all of above loan interest rates will change
If Rajan changes his repo rate, will SBI change her base rate?
Not always.
Because those common men are the main suppliers of money to SBI.
RBI is not the main supplier of money to SBI.
SBI will only change its base rate, when she feels necessary for its own profit / loss
compared to its competitors.
Does it mean Repo rate system is bogus and ineffective?
Not always.

In developing countries like India, most people park their money in only four things:
savings account, fixed deposit (FD), provident fund and LIC. Weve mutual funds, weve
NPS, weve ULIPs, weve Rajiv Gandhi equity savings scheme
but most people (particularly the older generation) feels insecure in into such new things.
Therefore lot of money flows into Savings accounts and fixed deposits= SBIs main source
of money.
But, In advanced economies, like USA, people dont invest large portion their income in
savings account or FD. Theyve variety of investment options. So, for those American
banks, their own Central bank (US Feds) is a significant money supplier.
Hence US Feds monetary policy shows faster impact on their American Banks, THAN
Rajans monetary policy on Desi banks.

Monetary Policy: limitations

In developing countries, Monetary fails to bring quick results because
1. People dont have many investment alternatives. Commercial banks have large deposits.
Rajan is not the main or even prominent money supplier for these banks. Whatever Rajan
does, its effect will be felt only after 6-8 months but by that time, new factors would cause
another rise in inflation and Rajan will have to start from scratch again.
2. Non-Monetized economy: in rural areas, many transactions are still of barter nature. (E.g.
kiranawalla cum middleman supplies seeds, pesticides, fertilizers- in exchange of share in
farmers produce.)
3. Lack of financial inclusion. Since most people are not in the banking net. They rely on
Shroffs and moneylenders. Many of them circulate the black money of cops and
politicians, and charge 36% interest rate on loans. Rajan has no control over them.
4. Monsoon uncertainty, cyclone, flood, draughts and their effect on food production. Food
inflation =>newspaper walla, washerman, barber, car mechanic everyone will raise their
service fees to accommodate their raised cost of living. Rajan has no control over them.
5. Crude oil and gold import + negative effect when rupee weakens. Rajan can try to bring
1$=Rs.65 to $1=63 Rs. But he has not enough forex reserves to bring $1=Rs.50.
6. Fiscal deficit, illogical schemes. e.g MNREGA worker digs a temporary road. After first rain,
t he road is wiped out= physical infrastructure added to economy no. Wages
raised..yes. = this mismatch leads to more inflation.
7. Subsidy leakage, Black money, underground economy.
8. And most importantly, because Rajan uses Multi-indicator approach, he focuses on WPI
(minus food and fuel). Thats why Urjit Patel recommends him to target CPI. More on that

in next article.
So far, we learned that RBI has two sets of tools/instruments under monetary policy:

Quantitative tool

Qualitative tools

1. Reserve ratios
2. OMO

Well see them in a moment

3. Policy rate (Repo Rate)

Qualitative Tools
#1: Margin Requirements/ LTV
Mallya wants to borrow from SBI. He pledges his companys shares worth Rs.100 crores
as collateral.
For such loans, Rajan can prescribe margin, say 65%.
In that case even if Mallya pledges 100 crores worth shares, SBI can give him 100-65=only
35 Crore rupees as loan.
Using this tool, Rajan can control money supply. e.g. during inflation, he should increase
margin requirement, so Mallya can borrow less=> less job=>less income=>less
demand=>prices reduced.
If Rajan changes repo rate, it is not compulsory for SBI to change her loan interest rates.
(we saw how Alok Nath keeps giving money to SBI, so they are not entirely dependent on
But if Rajan changes margin requirements, then SBI and all other banks must obey it. In
other words, this tool has direct impact on money supply.
#2: Consumer credit regulation
Suppose Nano car sells @1 lakh and Rajan has made rule that downpayment cannot be
less than 30%.
It means customer must bring Rs.30,000 from his pocket and bank can only give him
maximum 70000 as loan.
How can Rajan fight inflation with this tool?
Increase downpayment from 30%=>50% (meaning bank can give less loan. Customer

himself has to arrange lot of money from his own pocket)

Rajan can make rule banks cannot accept EMI less than 5000 on car loan. Observe:
Case #1: 100 EMIs worth 1000 each = 1,00,000. (ignore interest rates)
Case #2: 20 EMIs worth 5000 each=1,00,000. (ignore interest rates)
In case #2: some of the lower-middleclass families may postpone their decision to purchase
nano car (Because they cant afford higher EMIs.)
Result= less demand=>prices reduced. (indirectly- because car mechanics get less work,
number-plate painters get less orders etc. so they reduce fees to attract new clients and
retain existing clients.)
Thus, Rajan can control money supply by changing downpayment and installment (EMI)
#3: Selective credit control
Under this, Rajan can specifically instruct bankers not to give loans to traders of certain
commodities e.g. sugar, gur, edible oil etc.
even if the said trader is ready to mortgage his shares/bonds/factory/machine/vehicle
this prevents speculations/ hoarding of commodities using money borrowed from banks.
#4: Moral Suasion
Here Rajan tries to persuade the bankers to do xyz thing. Example
1. Please reduce giving automobile loans- instead park your money in government
securities. (above the SLR requirements.)
2. Ive reduced my repo rate, now you also reduce your base rate.
Rajan will try to influence those bankers via- direct meetings, conference, giving media
statements, giving speeches @public seminars, university convocations etc. (even where
bankers are not present.) Hell do so, to build a public opinion, media opinion and influence
those bankers by making them feel guilty.

Found in Planned economies/communist nations.

Here central bank will decide upper limit to loans in each sector

of credit

(heavy industries, service, agriculture, small-scale etc.)

So once that quota is over. Additional loans cannot be given to that
borrowers from that sector. This also controls money supply.


Means RBI gives punishment to erring banks. Punishment can involve:

penal interest, refuses to lend them money from LAF etc. and in worst case
even cancels their banking license.

Lets recap
Monetary policy tools: Quantiative vs Qualitative


1. Margin requirements / LTV

1. Reserve ratios (SLR, CRR)

2. Open Market Operation
3. Policy rate (Repo Rate)

2. Consumer credit regulation

3. Selective credit control
4. Moral Suasion
5. Rationing of Credit
6. Direct Action

Indirect in nature. (Even if Rajan changes repo rate, its

not necessary SBI will immediately change its base
rate / loan interest rates.)

Direct in nature. (e.g. those

margin requirements)

General- they affect money supply in entire economybe it housing, automobile, manufacturing- everything.

Selective- can affect money

supply in a specific sector of
economy e.g. automobile.

Lets solve an Official MCQ from UPSC 2012 Question paper

Q. RBI Acts as bankers bank. This would imply which of the following?
1. Other banks retain their deposits with RBI
2. RBI lends funds to commercial banks in the times of need.
3. RBI advises commercial banks on monetary matters.
Correct Statement

1. Only 2 and 3
2. Only 1 and 2
3. Only 1 and 3
4. 1, 2 and 3
Whenever you face such 3 statement MCQ or 4 statement MCQ, Always use elimination
method. First you find out a statement that is definitely right or definitely wrong. In above
case, we can see #2 is definitely right. RBI lends funds to banks in the times of need (Repo,
So lets eliminate choices that dont involve statement #2
1. Only 2 and 3
2. Only 1 and 2
3. Only 1 and 3
4. 1, 2 and 3
This did not help much. We still have three choices left. Observe statement #1: Other
banks retain their deposits with RBI. That is correct with respect to cash reserve ratio. CRR
is one type of deposit that banks make to RBI. (RBI doesnt pay interest on it- thats a
different story).
Meaning #1 is also correct eliminate choices that donot have #1
1. Only 2 and 3
2. Only 1 and 2
3. Only 1 and 3
4. 1, 2 and 3
Only two choices left and the ultimate solution = is statement #3 is correct or not?
Viewpoint #1
The statement says RBI advises commercial banks on
monetary matters.The word advises makes this
statement incorrect. Because RBI doesnt Advice they just
order the banks- be it SLR, CRR, PSL. RBI doesnt advice, RBI
gives orders and direction. Therefore statement #3 is

Viewpoint #2

RBI does advice those

banks. We saw it under
Moral Suasion. Therefore,
Statement #3 is right.

Even if we accept that RBI advices, still the questions asks
what is implied by RBI as Bankers bank. So, RBI advices
moral suasion that is a monetary policy tool. RBIs not
doing it as a Banker to those banks. Therefore, Statement
#3 is definitely wrong.

Money Banking and

finance, E Narayan Nadar
(PHI publication). He has
specifically listed this
Advice function under
Bankers bank topic.

Answer (B)

Answer (D)

So, is it B or is it D? Final judge is UPSC.

They had uploaded CSAt-2012 official answer key on their site.
This question is Test Series A, Question #75 and its official answer is D = meaning all
three statements are correct.
If you face such MCQ in exam, what should be your approach?


Upto you. But if you start skipping all such question (OMO, Money supply,
Bankers bank), because youre completely unaware of those topics=that is
not shows youre underprepared for this exam. You should
either change your study method or change the game- try for some easier


This question is attemptable, if you dont nitpick over the word advises in
third statement.

Mark n

If youve thoroughly prepared the RBIs monetary tools (both qualitative and
quantitative), you can solve it by applying concepts/principles- particularly
the moral suasion thing. But if youre still doubtful over whether #3 is right
or wrong, then better skip. If you skip because youre doubtful = that is
pardonable. But if you skip because youre completely unaware of this
topic= non-bailable offense.

These are the topics I wanted to discuss in the article, but they would break the flow of other
topics. Hence writing them @bottom:

#1: Why High SLR and High CRR are bad?

From the discussion so far, you might think why Rajan only focuses on Repo rate to control
money supply. Why not simply raise SLR and CRR requirements.

Lets check the de-merits of high SLR and CRR:

Prior to LPG reforms in 90s, RBI used to keep SLR and CRR very high. Lets take an example
A Bank can two types of deposits
Deposit type


Time Deposit

Fixed deposit (FD) recurring deposit.

Demand Deposit

Savings account, current account

Using this money, bank has to count its Net Demand and Time liabilities (NDTL), every
fortnight. Suppose its 100 crores.
Both CRR and SLR are counted on this figure. In the old times, these reserve ratios used
to be as high as 15% and 40% respectively. Observe the effect:
Net Demand and Time Liabilities (NDTL)

+100 cr.

Reserve ratios
CRR (15%)

(-) 15 [no profit]

SLR (40%)

(-) 40 [some profit]

Money left with bank

=45 cr.

From 100 crores, barely 45 crores left with the bank. But adding insult to the injury- even
here RBI mandates Priority sector lending (PSL). Meaning, at least 40% of the loans has to be
given to farmers, small businessmen, students etc. groups.
Lets update the table:
Net Demand and Time Liabilities (NDTL)

+100 cr.

Reserve ratios
CRR (15%)

(-) 15 [no profit]

SLR (40%)

(-) 40 [some profit]

Money left with bank


PSL (40%)

=45 x 0.4 =18


Money left for big borrowers (i.e. big businessmen, upper


=45-18=27 crores.

By the way, PSL is counted on annual basis while SLR, CRR counted on fortnight basis so
above table is technically incorrect but Ive plugged in those numbers only for the sake of
before the 90s- Government would even interfere and order public sector banks to give
PSL-loans @cheap interest rates. The local politicians would coerce the branch manager
to give PSL-loans to ineligible people. They default on loans, Branch manager cannot
recover money (because defaulter will goto civil court then taarikh pe taarikh.) So, bank
would have to forget about most of those 18 crores given in PSL loans.
Anyways you can see people deposited 100 crores in the bank yet bank is left with barely
27 crores (over which, bank has Freedom to decide whom they should give the loan.)
What are the consequences for businessmen?
1. High cost of credit (because bank will try to make maximum profit from those 27 croresso bank will charge very high interest rate on the business loans- to pay off for the staff
salaries, branch office rents and everything.)
2. Businessman cannot expand his business.
3. Less exports.
4. Less tax income for the government.
So in a way- that was also one of the factors leading to Balance of Payment crisis (and
subsequently LPG reforms.) You can read more about that in NCERT Class 11- chapter 2 and

#2: Narsimhan (I) Committee 1991

Plagued by problems and losses in nationalized banks, Government of India formed this
Committee. Recommendations were:
1. Deregulate interest rates. Let the banks decide their loan interest rates. Accepted.

Gradually, we moved to the Base Rate system.

2. PSL loans should be given at normal interest rates. Accepted (but with exception=>
interest subvention- that we saw under Nachiket articles.)
3. NPA/Loan default matter should be handled by separate body and not civil courts. Result:
Debt recovery tribunal created in 1993. Ultimately SARFAESI Act in 2002.
4. Reduce CRR, SLR. Accepted. Today weve them @4% and 23% respectively.
5. Allow Private banks and foreign banks. RBI invited applications in 1993. ICICI, Axis, HDFC
and many others got license.
6. Liberate Branch expansion policy. Done (Except that 25% rural branching mandate we
saw under Nachiket articles).
7. Prepare NBFC regulatory framework. Accepted.
8. Government should reduce shareholding (and thereby its official influence) in the public
sector banks. Government agreed. Today governments shareholding in SBI =~60%.

#3: Narsimhan (II) Committee 1998

Suggested more reforms.
1. allow VRS in the banks so they can get rid of excessive staff.
2. Suggested additional Legal reforms for loan recovery. =>SARFAESI 2002
3. Computerization, electronic fund transfer, legal framework => Payment and Settlement
Act=>Retail (ECS, NEFT, credit Card) + Wholesale (RTGS)
4. Permit new private /foreign banks. RBI invited license in 2001= Yes Bank and Kotak
Mahindra got licenses. 2013: RBI again invited applications for bank licenses.
[Note: list of recommendations not exhaustive, Ive only highlighted important topics that
show evolution of banking sector in recent times.]

Mock Questions
1. With open market operations, RBI can
a. increase liquidity in the economy, but cannot decrease it
b. decrease liquidity in the economy, but cannot increase it
c. Can increase or decrease liquidity in the economy to control money supply.
d. None of above.
2. By which of the following methods, government can reduce money supply in the

a. taxation
b. sale of securities to public
c. both A and B
d. neither A nor B
3. During the period of deflation
a. RBI should use dear money policy to combat it
b. Government should reduce its tax rates.
c. both A and B
d. Neither A nor B.
4. IF prices are lowered without causing unemployment, we call it:
a. stagflation
b. reflation
c. disflaction
d. Disinflation.
5. Which of the following contains correct set of quantitative instruments of monetary
a. reserve ratio, bank rate, margin requirements
b. open market operations, margin requirements, regulation of consumer credit
c. cash reserve ratio, bank rate, open market operation
d. None of above
6. Which of the following contains correct set of qualitative instruments of monetary policy?
a. reserve ratio, bank rate, margin requirements
b. credit rationing, margin requirements, regulation of consumer credit
c. cash reserve ratio, bank rate, open market operation
d. None of above
Q7. To counter the effect of deflation, which of the following steps should RBI initiate?
1. decrease reserve ratios
2. buy government securities through open market operation
3. increase policy rate
Answer choices
a. only 1 and 2

b. only 2 and 3
c. only 1 and 3
d. 1, 2 and 3
Q8. To counter inflation, which of the following steps should RBI initiate?
1. Increase reserve ratios
2. sell government securities through open market operation
3. Increase policy rate
Answer choices
a. only 1 and 2
b. only 2 and 3
c. only 1 and 3
d. 1, 2 and 3
Q9. Which of the following may cause deflation in the economy?
1. RBI raises policy rate
2. RBI raises cash reserve ratio
3. RBI sells securities
a. only 1 and 2
b. only 2 and 3
c. only 1 and 3
d. all 1,2 and 3
Q10. Money supply in the economy, is affected by
1. Cheap money policy and dear money policy.
2. Open market operation and Moral Suasion.
3. Consumer credit regulation and loan to value ratio.

a. only 1 and 2
b. only 2 and 3
c. only 1 and 3
d. all 1, 2 and 3
Q11. An increase in SLR
1. will restrict the expansion of banks credit
2. will increase banks investment in safe securities
3. will ensure solvency of the banks
a. only 1 and 2
b. only 2 and 3
c. only 1 and 3
d. all 1,2 and 3

Mains/interview type questions- after we check Urjit Patels recommendations on

strengthening monetary policy.
1. can increase by buying, can decrease by selling
2. both [or only B, depending on how UPSC examiner interprets the effect of taxation on
money supply. In one of the reputed book on Banking and finance, author Narayan Nadar
claimed taxation can affect money supply.]
3. dear money policy during deflation =adds insult to the injury of businessman. If
government reduces tax- then its revenue collection will drastically reduce. So both
incorrect. [OR debatable- depending on how UPSC examiner interprets the effect of
taxation during deflation.]
4. directly given in the article.
5. see the last table in the article
6. see the last table in the article
7. observe the table before the topic repo rate in recent years
8. same as above
9. same as above

10. All correct. (Unless you nitpick and drag the logic too much.)
11. same as above.
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