The Bank began its operations by taking over
from the Government the functions so far being performed by
the Controller of Currency and from the Imperial Bank of India,
the management of Government accounts and public debt. The existing
currency offices at Calcutta, Bombay, Madras, Rangoon, Karachi,
Lahore and Cawnpore (Kanpur) became branches of the Issue Department.
Offices of the Banking Department were established in Calcutta,
Bombay, Madras, Delhi and Rangoon.
Burma (Myanmar) seceded from the Indian Union
in 1937 but the Reserve Bank continued to act as the Central
Bank for Burma till Japanese Occupation of Burma and later upto
April, 1947. After the partition of India, the Reserve Bank
served as the central bank of Pakistan upto June 1948 when the
State Bank of Pakistan commenced operations. The Bank, which
was originally set up as a shareholder's bank, was nationalised
An interesting feature of the Reserve Bank of
India was that at its very inception, the Bank was seen as playing
a special role in the context of development, especially Agriculture.
When India commenced its plan endeavours, the development role
of the Bank came into focus, especially in the sixties when
the Reserve Bank, in many ways, pioneered the concept and practise
of using finance to catalyse development. The Bank was also
instrumental in institutional development and helped set up
insitutions like the Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee
Corporation of India, the Unit Trust of India, the Industrial
Development Bank of India, the National Bank of Agriculture
and Rural Development, the Discount and Finance House of India
etc. to build the financial infrastructure of the country.
With liberalisation, the Bank's focus has shifted
back to core central banking functions like Monetary Policy,
Bank Supervision and Regulation, and Overseeing the Payments
System and onto developing the financial markets.