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The Reserve Bank of India   
The Reserve Bank of India
Volume 4: 1981-1997
(in Part A & Part B)
Reserve Bank of India
in association with Reserve Bank of India
Hard-bound Book (6¼" x 9¼") :   Pages : 680+712
2013  Edition   :  ISBN - 978-81-7188-986-0
Price : INR 2195 / US $ 99.95 (Part A & Part B)
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This fourth volume in the series of the history of the Reserve Bank of India covers the 16 eventful years from 1981 to 1997. It is published in two parts, which ideally should be read as a continuum.

Part A focuses on the transformation of the Indian economy from a regime of restrictions to progressive liberalisation. The 1980s were characterised by an expansionary fiscal policy accompanied by automatic monetisation of budgetary deficit that strained the conduct of monetary policy. Similarly, a heavily regulated banking system impaired efficiency. The domestic macroeconomic imbalances combined with deteriorating external conditions triggered the balance of payments (BoP) crisis of 1991. Subsequent reforms ushered in far reaching changes not only in the economy but also in central banking.

Part B of the volume captures the implementation of structural and financial sector reforms: fiscal correction and phasing out of automatic monetisation; development of government securities market; and greater integration among money, securities and foreign exchange markets. It also covers the transformation in banking with liberalisation and improvement in credit delivery. At the same time the Reserve Bank had to contend with a securities scam which led to the introduction of better control systems and strengthening of the payment and settlement systems.

With the introduction of financial sector reforms, the Reserve Bank adopted a more active communication strategy. The organisational structure of the Reserve Bank also changed in response to domestic necessities and international developments. The Bank embarked upon technological transformation and upgraded its systems and procedures to manage its operations effectively.

This volume is more than a mere narrative of the history of the Reserve Bank; it also provides valuable insights into India's economic development and policy during an eventful and significant period.


  “This [the period from 1981 to 1997] was by far one of the most challenging periods for the economy. This volume of history takes us through the difficult times when the Reserve Bank and the Government had to contend with unprecedented strains on the external payments situation. In response to the balance of payments crisis, the Government embarked on a wide-ranging programme of economic reforms that defined a marked reorientation of the philosophy of economic management of the country. The Reserve Bank was a partner in this exciting process, generating ideas, processing proposals and implementing reform initiatives.”

Dr Duvvuri Subbarao


“The comprehensive economic reforms, mostly home-grown, that were launched in 1991, with support from multilateral institutions and implemented in a gradual and cautious manner enabled India to gain international credibility. The devaluation of the rupee in 1991 gave a fillip to exports. This, combined with wide-ranging liberalisation efforts in various sectors, helped rather quickly to restore macroeconomic balance in the economy. Policy measures such as the institution of the Liberalised Exchange Rate Management System (LERMS) as a prelude to current account convertibility in 1994, the switch from direct to indirect instruments to improve the efficacy of monetary policy, and developing financial markets for greater market integration facilitated the smooth transition of the economy towards a more dynamic and liberal regime.”

Dr Bimal Jalan

    Chairman, Advisory Committee, RBI History









Chapter 1: Introduction and Overview

I. Consolidation and Early Liberalisation: 1981 to 1989

Chapter 2: Macroeconomic Context

Chapter 3: Monetary-Fiscal Interface

Chapter 4: Monetary and Credit Policy

Chapter 5: Balance of Payments and Exchange Control

Chapter 6: Banking and Finance

Chapter 7: Developments in Banking Supervision

Chapter 8: Rural Credit Policy

Chapter 9: Conclusion: The Decade of the 1980s

II. Crisis and Reforms: 1989 to 1997 (contd...)

Chapter 10: Economic and Financial Environment

Chapter 11: The Balance of Payments Crisis of 1991

Chapter 12: Management and Resolution of the 1991 Crisis

Chapter 13: External Sector Liberalisation

Chapter 14: Monetary Management


II. Crisis and Reforms: 1989 to 1997 (concld.)

Chapter 15: Public Debt Management

Chapter 16: Financial Markets

Chapter 17: Reforms in Banking and Financial Institutions

Chapter 18: Agriculture and Rural Development

Chapter 19: Conclusion: First Seven Years of the 1990s

III. Organisational Aspects

Chapter 20: Communication Practices

Chapter 21: Institutional Changes

IV. Miscellany

Select Photographs

Appendices, Enclosures and Documents

V. References and Index

Select References



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