Financial sector includes financial institutions, such as commercial banks, investment banks, stock exchange operations and foreign exchange market. The financial sector in India is regulated by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). You may be aware that all banks and other financial institutions in India are regulated through various norms and regulations of the RBI. The RBI decides the amount of money that the banks can keep with themselves, fixes interest rates, nature of lending to various sectors, etc. One of the major aims of financial sector reforms is to reduce the role of RBI from regulator to facilitator of financial sector. This means that the financial sector may be allowed to take decisions on many matters without consulting the RBI.
The reform policies led to the establishment of private sector banks, Indian as well as foreign. Foreign investment limit in banks was raised to around 74 per cent. Those banks which fulfil certain conditions have been given freedom to set up new branches without the approval of the RBI and rationalise their existing branch networks. Though banks have been given permission to generate resources from India and abroad, certain managerial aspects have been retained with the RBI to safeguard the interests of the account-holders and the nation. Foreign Institutional Investors (FII), such as merchant bankers, mutual funds and pension funds, are now allowed to invest in Indian financial markets.
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