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Economics for SSC topic Money and banking

Economics for SSC topic Money and banking

economics for ssc

Money and Banking

  • Money is the commonly accepted medium of exchange
  • Economic exchanges without the mediation of money are referred to as barter exchanges
  • facilitation of exchanges is considered to be the principal role of money,
  • Money also acts as a convenient unit of account.
  • The value of all goods and services can be expressed in monetary units.
  • Money is not perishable and its storage costs are also considerably lower
  • Money is the most liquid of all assets in the sense that it is universally acceptable and hence can be exchanged for other commodities very easily.
  • Demand for money balance is thus often referred to as liquidity preference.
  • People desire to hold money balance broadly from two motives.
    1. The Transaction Motive:

The principal motive for holding money is to carry out transactions.

    1. The Speculative Motive
  • Money consists mainly of currency notes and coins issued by the monetary authority of the country (RBI).
  • In India currency notes are issued by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), which is the monetary authority in India. However, coins are issued by the Government of India.
  • Apart from currency notes and coins, the balance in savings, or current account deposits, held by the public in commercial banks is also considered money since cheques drawn on these accounts are used to settle transactions. Such deposits are called demand deposits as they are payable by the bank on demand from the account holder. Other deposits, e.g. fixed deposits, have a fixed period to maturity and are referred to as time deposits
  • The value of the currency notes and coins is derived from the guarantee provided by the issuing authority of these items. Every currency note bears on its face a promise from the Governor of RBI that if someone produces the note to RBI, or any other commercial bank, RBI will be responsible for giving the person purchasing power equal to the value printed on the note. The same is also true of coins.
  • Currency notes and coins are therefore called fiat money. They do not have intrinsic value like a gold or silver coin. They are also called legal tenders as they cannot be refused by any citizen of the country for settlement of any kind of transaction. Cheques drawn on savings or current accounts, however, can be refused by anyone as a mode of payment. Hence, demand deposits are not legal tenders.

economics for ssc
Legal Definitions: Narrow and Broad Money 

  • Money supply, like money demand, is a stock variable. The total stock of money in circulation among the public at a particular point of time is called money supply. RBI publishes figures for four alternative measures of money supply, viz. M1, M2, M3 and M4.
  • They are defined as follows

M1 = CU + DD

M2 = M1 + Savings deposits with Post Office savings banks

M3 = M1 + Net time deposits of commercial banks

M4 = M3 + Total deposits with Post Office savings organisations (excluding National Savings Certificates)

where, CU is currency (notes plus coins) held by the public and DD is net demand deposits held by commercial banks. The word ‘net’ implies that only deposits of the public held by the banks are to be included in money supply. The interbank deposits, which a commercial bank holds in other commercial banks, are not to be regarded as part of money supply. M1 and M2 are known as narrow money. M3 and M4 are known as broad money. These gradations are in decreasing order of liquidity. M1 is most liquid and easiest for transactions whereas M4 is least liquid of all. M3 is the most commonly used measure of money supply. It is also known as aggregate monetary resources

 Money Creation by the Banking System

  • Various actions of the monetary authority, RBI, and commercial banks are responsible for changes in the values of these items.
  • The preference of the public for holding cash balances vis-´a-vis deposits in banks also affect the money supply.
  • These influences on money supply can be summarised by the following key ratios

The Currency Deposit Ratio: The currency deposit ratio (cdr) is the ratio of money held by the public in currency to that they hold in bank deposits.

For example, cdr increases during the festive season as people convert deposits to cash balance for meeting extra expenditure during such periods.

The Reserve Deposit Ratio: Banks hold a part of the money people keep in their bank deposits as reserve money and loan out the rest to various investment projects. Reserve money consists of two things – vault cash in banks and deposits of commercial banks with RBI. Banks use this reserve to meet the demand for cash by account holders. Reserve deposit ratio (rdr) is the proportion of the total deposits commercial banks keep as reserves

Keeping reserves is costly for banks, as, otherwise, they could lend this balance to interest earning investment projects. However, RBI requires commercial banks to keep reserves in order to ensure that banks have a safe cushion of assets to draw on when account holders want to be paid. RBI uses various policy instruments to bring forth a healthy rdr in commercial banks. The first instrument is the Cash Reserve Ratio which specifies the fraction of their deposits that banks must keep with RBI. There is another tool called Statutory Liquidity Ratio which requires the banks to maintain a given fraction of their total demand and time deposits in the form of specified liquid assets. Apart from these ratios RBI uses a certain interest rate called the Bank Rate to control the value of rdr. Commercial banks can borrow money from RBI at the bank rate when they run short of reserves. A high bank rate makes such borrowing from RBI costly and, in effect, encourages the commercial banks to maintain a healthy rdr.
Commercial Banks

  • Commercial Banks accept deposits from the public and lend out this money to interest earning investment projects.
  • The rate of interest offered by the bank to deposit holders is called the ‘borrowing rate’ and the rate at which banks lend out their reserves to investors is called the ‘lending rate’.
  • The difference between the two rates, called ‘spread’, is the profit that is appropriated by the banks. Deposits are broadly of two types – demand deposits, payable by the banks on demand from the account holder, e.g. current and savings account deposits, and time deposits, which have a fixed period to maturity, e.g. fixed deposits.
  • Lending by commercial banks consists mainly of cash credit, demand and short term loans to private investors and banks’ investments in government securities and other approved bonds.
  •  The creditworthiness of a person is judged by her current assets or the collateral (a security pledged for the repayment of a loan)


High Powered Money: The total liability of the monetary authority of the country, RBI, is called the monetary base or high powered money. It consists of currency (notes and coins in circulation with the public and vault cash of commercial banks) and deposits held by the Government of India and commercial banks with RBI. If a member of the public produces a currency note to RBI the latter must pay her value equal to the figure printed on the note. Similarly, the deposits are also refundable by RBI on demand from deposit-holders. These items are claims which the general public, government or banks have on RBI and hence are considered to be the liability of RBI

The Reserve Bank of India plays a crucial role here. In case of a crisis it stands by the commercial banks as a guarantor and extends loans to ensure the solvency of the latter. This system of guarantee assures individual account-holders that their banks will be able to pay their money back in case of a crisis and there is no need to panic thus avoiding bank runs. This role of the monetary authority is known as the lender of last resort

Apart from acting as a banker to the commercial banks, RBI also acts as a banker to the Government of India, and also, to the state governments. It is commonly held that the government, sometimes, ‘prints money’ in case of a budget deficit, i.e., when it cannot meet its expenses (e.g. salaries to the government employees, purchase of defense equipment from a manufacturer of such goods etc) from the tax revenue it has earned. The government, however, has no legal authorityto issue currency in this fashion. So it borrows money by selling treasury bills or government securities to RBI, which issues currency to the government in return. The government then pays for its expenses with this

money. The money thus ultimately comes into the hands of the general public (in the form of salary or sales proceeds of defense items etc.) and becomes a part of the money supply. Financing of budget deficits by the governments in this fashion is called Deficit Financing through Central Bank Borrowing

However, the most important role of RBI is as the controller of money supply and credit creation in the economy. RBI is the independent authority for conducting monetary policy in the best interests of the economy – it increases or decreases the supply of high powered money in the economy and creates incentives or disincentives for the commercial banks to give loans or credits to investors. The instruments which RBI uses for conducting monetary policy are as follows

Open Market Operations: RBI purchases (or sells) government securities to the general public in a bid to increase (or decrease) the stock of high powered money in the economy. Suppose RBI purchases Rs 100 worth government securities from the bond market. It will issue a cheque of Rs 100 on itself to the seller of the bond i.e. if a person or institution possessing the cheque produces it to RBI. RBI must pay equivalent amount of money to the person or the institution. The seller will deposit the cheque in her bank, which, in turn, will credit the seller’s account with a balance of Rs 100. The bank’s deposits go up by Rs 100 which is a liability to the bank. However, its assets also go up by Rs 100 by the possession of this cheque, which is a claim on RBI. The bank will deposit this cheque to RBI which, in turn, will credit the bank’s account with RBI with Rs 100.

The changes in RBI’s balance sheet are shown in above Table Total liability of RBI, or, by definition, the supply of high powered money in the economy has gone up by Rs 100. If RBI wishes to reduce the supply of high powered money it undertakes an open market sale of government securities of its own holding in just the reverse fashion, thereby reducing the monetary base.

Bank Rate Policy: As mentioned earlier, RBI can affect the reserve deposit ratio of commercial banks by adjusting the value of the bank rate – which is the rate of interest commercial banks have to pay RBI – if they borrow money from it in case of shortage of reserves. A low (or high) bank rate encourages banks to keep smaller (or greater) proportion of their deposits as reserves, since borrowing from RBI is now less (or more) costly than before. As a result banks use a greater (or smaller) proportion of their resources for giving out loans to borrowers or investors, thereby enhancing (or depressing) the multiplier process via assisting (or resisting) secondary money creation.

Varying Reserve Requirements: Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) and Statutory Liquidity Ratio (SLR) also work through the rdr-route. A high (or low) value of CRR or SLR helps increase (or decrease) the value of reserve deposit ratio, thus diminishing (or increasing) the value of the money multiplier and money supply in the economy in a similar fashion

Sterilization by RBI: RBI often uses its instruments of money creation for stabilizing the stock of money in the economy from external shocks. Suppose due to future growth prospects in India investors from across the world increase their investments in Indian bonds which under such circumstances, are likely to yield a high rate of return. They will buy these bonds with foreign currency. Since one cannot purchase goods in the domestic market with foreign currency, a person or a financial institution who sells these bonds to foreign investors will exchange its foreign currency holding into rupee at a commercial bank. The bank, in turn, will submit this foreign currency to RBI and its deposits with RBI will be credited with equivalent sum of money. What kind of adjustments take place from this entire transaction? The commercial bank’s total reserves and deposits remain unchanged (it has purchased the foreign currency from the seller using its vault cash, which, therefore, goes down; but the bank’s deposit with RBI goes up by an equivalent amount – leaving its total reserves unchanged). There will, however, be increments in the assets and liabilities on the RBI balance sheet. RBI’s foreign exchange holding goes up. On the other hand, the deposits of commercial banks with RBI also increase by an equal amount. But that means an increase in the stock of high powered money – which, by definition, is equal to the total liability of RBI. With money multiplier in operation, this, in turn, will result in increased money supply in the economy.

This increased money supply may not altogether be good for the economy’s health. If the volume of goods and services produced in the economy remains unchanged, the extra money will lead to increase in prices of all commodities. People have more money in their hands with which they compete each other in the commodities market for buying the same old stock of goods. As too much money is now chasing the same old quantities of output, the process ends up in bidding up prices of every commodity – an increase in the general price level, which is also known as inflation. RBI often intervenes with its instruments to prevent such an outcome. In the above example, RBI will undertake an open market sale of government securities of an amount equal to the amount of foreign exchange inflow in the economy, thereby keeping the stock of high powered money and total money supply unchanged. Thus it sterilises the economy against adverse external shocks. This operation of RBI is known as sterilisation. Money supply is, therefore, an important macroeconomic variable. Its overall influence on the values of the equilibrium rate of interest, price level and output of an economy is of great significance.


Exchange of commodities without the mediation of money is called Barter Exchange. It suffers from lack of double coincidence of wants. Money facilitates exchanges by acting as a commonly acceptable medium of exchange. In a modern economy, people hold money broadly from two motives – transaction motive and speculative motive. Supply of money, on the other hand, consists of currency notes and coins, demand and time deposits held by commercial banks, etc. It is classified as narrow and broad money according to the decreasing order of liquidity. In India, the supply of money is regulated by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) which acts as the monetary authority of the country. Various actions of the public, the commercial banks of the country and RBI are responsible for changes in the supply of money in the economy. RBI regulates money supply by controlling the stock of high powered money, the bank rate and reserve requirements of the commercial banks. It also sterilises the money supply in the economy against external shocks.

Key concepts

Barter Exchange


Transaction Demand


Rate of Interest

Liquidity Trap

Legal Tender

Broad Money

Currency Deposit Ratio

High Powered Money

Lender of Last resort

economics for ssc

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