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Regional Rural Banks (RRBs)

Recently, a meeting was held between the finance minister and the heads of banks to discuss various reforms in Regional Rural Banks (RRBs).

Why in News?

Recently, a meeting was held between the finance minister and the heads of banks to discuss various reforms in Regional Rural Banks (RRBs).


  • The discussions centered on the financial performance of RRBs.
  • The Union Finance Minister emphasized the need for timely implementation of technology, Loan Management System, and Core Banking System in the RRBs of the Southern Region.

About Regional Rural Banks (RRBs):

  • Established: 1975.
    • They were set up based on recommendations of the Narasimhan Working Group.
  • They were set up as government-sponsored, regional-based rural lending institutions under the Regional Rural Banks Act, of 1976.

Objectives of RRBs:

  • They have been created with a view to serve primarily rural areas of India with basic banking and financial services.
  • They fulfill credit needs of relatively unserved sections in rural areas-small and marginal farmers, agricultural laborers, socio-economically weaker sections, and small entrepreneurs in rural areas for the development of agriculture, trade, commerce, industry, and other productive activities.
  • RRBs can also set branches set up for urban operations and their area of operation may include semi-urban or urban areas too.

Functions of Regional Rural Banks

Regional Rural Banks Reforms Needed 

Several committees have been constituted to recommend reforms for Regional Rural Banks (RRBs). Here are recommendations of some notable committees:

Vyas Committee (2004)

Recommended the conversion of RRBs into full-fledged commercial banks to enhance their financial strength and operational efficiency.
Suggested raising the capital adequacy ratio to 9% to ensure the financial stability of RRBs.
Advocated for the strengthening of governance and management practices in RRBs.

Chore Committee (2015)

Recommended measures to improve the financial viability of RRBs, including capital infusion by the government and sponsorship by strong commercial banks.
Emphasized the need for performance-based incentives and a robust business strategy for RRBs.
Suggested the adoption of technology-driven banking practices and enhanced risk management frameworks.

Nayak Committee (2018)

Recommended a comprehensive reform package for RRBs, including the recapitalization of financially weak RRBs.
Suggested consolidation of RRBs to create stronger and more sustainable entities.
Emphasized the importance of enhancing digital banking capabilities and financial inclusion efforts.

Sudarshan Sen Committee (2019)

Recommended a roadmap for the transformation of RRBs into “Universal Banks for Rural India.”
Advocated for the strengthening of governance, risk management, and internal controls in RRBs.
Suggested the adoption of digital technologies and innovative banking practices to enhance operational efficiency and customer service.

Way Forward

  • There is a need to have a common framework for RRBs, along the lines of core banking solution (CBS), so that all of them can provide online banking services to their customers and further, enhance their outreach and profitability.
  • There should be more like internet banking etc.
  • Further, they need to increase their efficiency and touch various other dimensions of banking, like providing loans to merchants, MSME’s that could increase their profitability.

FAQs about Regional Rural Banks

Q1: Why was a meeting held between the finance minister and the heads of banks recently?

A1: The meeting was held to discuss various reforms in Regional Rural Banks (RRBs) and to focus on the financial performance of RRBs, particularly in the Southern Region.

Q2: What are Regional Rural Banks (RRBs) and when were they established?

A2: RRBs are government-sponsored rural lending institutions that were established in 1975 based on the recommendations of the Narasimhan Working Group.

Q3: What are the main objectives of Regional Rural Banks (RRBs)?

A3: RRBs are created to serve primarily rural areas of India by providing basic banking and financial services, fulfilling credit needs of unserved sections, supporting agriculture, trade, commerce, and industry in rural areas.

Q4: What functions do Regional Rural Banks (RRBs) perform?

A4: RRBs provide banking services, credit facilities to rural individuals and businesses, support agricultural and rural development, promote financial inclusion, engage in cooperative banking activities, and prioritize lending to sectors like agriculture and micro-enterprises.

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