This role is, perhaps, the most unheralded aspect of our activities, yet it remains among the most critical. This includes ensuring credit availability to the productive sectors of the economy, establishing institutions designed to build the country's financial infrastructure, expanding access to affordable financial services and promoting financial education and literacy.

The rural co-operative credit system in India is primarily mandated to ensure flow of credit to the agriculture sector. It comprises short-term and long-term co-operative credit structures. The short-term co-operative credit structure operates with a three-tier system - Primary Agricultural Credit Societies (PACS) at the village level, Central Cooperative Banks (CCBs) at the district level and State Cooperative Banks (StCBs) at the State level. PACS are outside the purview of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949 and hence not regulated by the Reserve Bank of India. StCBs/DCCBs are registered under the provisions of State Cooperative Societies Act of the State concerned and are regulated by the Reserve Bank. Powers have been delegated to National Bank for Agricultural and Rural Development (NABARD) under Sec 35 A of the Banking Regulation Act (As Applicable to Cooperative Societies) to conduct inspection of State and Central Cooperative Banks.

Primary Cooperative Banks (PCBs), also referred to as Urban Cooperative Banks (UCBs), cater to the financial needs of customers in urban and semi-urban areas. UCBs are primarily registered as cooperative societies under the provisions of either the State Cooperative Societies Act of the State concerned or the Multi State Cooperative Societies Act, 2002 if the area of operation of the bank extends beyond the boundaries of one state. The sector is heterogeneous in character with uneven geographic spread of the banks. While many of them are unit banks without any branch network, some of them are large in size and operate in more than one state.

Duality of Control

Convergence between Regulation & Supervision

The Reserve Bank acts in close co-ordination with other regulators, such as, Registrar of Co-operative Societies and Central Registrar of Co-operative Societies. The Reserve Bank enters into Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Central Government and all State Governments which have presence of UCBs to ensure greater convergence of policies on regulation and supervision. Starting with signing first MoU with the State of Andhra Pradesh on June 27, 2005 and the last with the State of Telangana on December 30, 2014, today, all the UCBs in the country are covered under MoU

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