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RBI Policy Rates

RBI Policy Rates as updated by resolutions of Monetary Policy Committee dt. 03 to 06.04.2023 (download)

With the help of policy rate changes, RBI manages inflation by managing the money supply in the financial system. If policy rates are reduced, it will make money available easily, and an increase in the money supply is expected to boost inflation. In the reverse situation, when policy rates are increased then money will be flushed out of the financial system and a decrease in the money supply is expected to reduce inflation.

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History of changes in repo rate

The chart given below shows the history of changes in repo rate by RBI to control inflation and to achieve the objectives of monetary policy:-

What is Monetary Policy? What are goals of Monetary policy and how these goals are achieved?

Monetary policy refers to the use of monetary instruments by the central bank to regulate interest rates, money supply, and availability of credit with a view to achieving the ultimate objective of economic growth and price stability. The primary objective of monetary policy is to maintain price stability while keeping in mind the objective of growth. Price stability is a necessary precondition to sustainable growth. Some notable points about monetary policy are given below:-

  • Government of India sets the inflation target once every five years in consultation with RBI. Accordingly, Central Government notified in the Official Gazette, 4% Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation as the target for the period from August 5, 2016 to March 31, 2021 with the upper tolerance limit of 6% and the lower tolerance limit of 2% . On March 31, 2021, the Central Government retained the inflation target and the tolerance band for the next 5-year period – April 1, 2021 to March 31, 2026
  • The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) constituted by the Central Government, determines the policy interest rate required to achieve the inflation target.
  • The MPC is required to meet at least four times in a year.
  • The monetary policy framework aims at setting the policy (repo) rate based on an assessment of the current and evolving macroeconomic situation and modulation of liquidity conditions to anchor money market rates at or around the repo rate.
  • RBI’s Monetary Policy Department (MPD) assists the MPC in formulating the monetary policy. Views of key stakeholders in the economy, and the analytical work of the Reserve Bank contribute to the process for arriving at the decision on the policy repo rate.
  • The Financial Markets Committee (FMC) meets daily to review the liquidity conditions so as to ensure that the operating target of the weighted average call money rate (WACR) is aligned with the repo rate.
  • There are several direct and indirect instruments that are used for implementing monetary policy.
    • Repo Rate: The (fixed) interest rate at which the Reserve Bank provides overnight liquidity to banks against the collateral of government and other approved securities under the liquidity adjustment facility (LAF).
    • Reverse Repo Rate: The (fixed) interest rate at which the Reserve Bank absorbs liquidity, on an overnight basis, from banks against the collateral of eligible government securities under the LAF.
    • Liquidity Adjustment Facility (LAF): The LAF consists of overnight as well as term repo auctions. Progressively, the Reserve Bank has increased the proportion of liquidity injected under fine-tuning variable rate repo auctions of range of tenors. The aim of the term repo is to help develop the inter-bank term money market, which in turn can set market-based benchmarks for pricing of loans and deposits, and hence improve the transmission of monetary policy. The Reserve Bank also conducts variable interest rate reverse repo auctions, as necessitated under the market conditions.
    • Marginal Standing Facility (MSF): A facility under which scheduled commercial banks can borrow additional amount of overnight money from the Reserve Bank by dipping into their Statutory Liquidity Ratio (SLR) portfolio up to a limit at a penal rate of interest. This provides a safety valve against unanticipated liquidity shocks to the banking system.
    • Corridor: The MSF rate and reverse repo rate determine the corridor for the daily movement in the weighted average call money rate.
    • Bank Rate: It is the rate at which the Reserve Bank is ready to buy or rediscount bills of exchange or other commercial papers. The Bank Rate is published under Section 49 of the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934. This rate has been aligned to the MSF rate and, therefore, changes automatically as and when the MSF rate changes alongside policy repo rate changes.
    • Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR): The average daily balance that a bank is required to maintain with the Reserve Bank as a share of such per cent of its Net demand and time liabilities (NDTL) that the Reserve Bank may notify from time to time in the Gazette of India.
    • Statutory Liquidity Ratio (SLR): The share of NDTL that a bank is required to maintain in safe and liquid assets, such as, unencumbered government securities, cash and gold. Changes in SLR often influence the availability of resources in the banking system for lending to the private sector.
    • Open Market Operations (OMOs): These include both, outright purchase and sale of government securities, for injection and absorption of durable liquidity, respectively.
    • Market Stabilisation Scheme (MSS): This instrument for monetary management was introduced in 2004. Surplus liquidity of a more enduring nature arising from large capital inflows is absorbed through the sale of short-dated government securities and treasury bills. The cash so mobilised is held in a separate government account with the Reserve Bank.
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