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Post-Independence- Indian Banks

The partition of India in 1947 adversely impacted the economies of Punjab and We
st Bengal, paralysing banking activities for months. India's independence marked
the end of a regime of the Laissez-faire for the Indian banking. The Government
of India initiated measures to play an active role in the economic life of the
nation, and the Industrial Policy Resolution adopted by the government in 1948 e
nvisaged a mixed economy. This resulted into greater involvement of the state in
different segments of the economy including banking and finance. The major step
s to regulate banking included:
The Reserve Bank of India, India's central banking authority, was established in
April 1935, but was nationalised on 1 January 1949 under the terms of the Reser
ve Bank of India (Transfer to Public Ownership) Act, 1948 (RBI, 2005b).[16]
In 1949, the Banking Regulation Act was enacted which empowered the Reserve Bank
of India (RBI) "to regulate, control, and inspect the banks in India".
The Banking Regulation Act also provided that no new bank or branch of an existi
ng bank could be opened without a license from the RBI, and no two banks could h
ave common directors.
Nationalization in the 1960s[edit]
Despite the provisions, control and regulations of the Reserve Bank of India, ba
nks in India except the State Bank of India (SBI), continued to be owned and ope
rated by private persons. By the 1960s, the Indian banking industry had become a
n important tool to facilitate the development of the Indian economy. At the sam
e time, it had emerged as a large employer, and a debate had ensued about the na
tionalization of the banking industry. Indira Gandhi, the then Prime Minister of
India, expressed the intention of the Government of India in the annual confere
nce of the All India Congress Meeting in a paper entitled "Stray thoughts on Ban
k Nationalization."[17] The meeting received the paper with enthusiasm.
Thereafter, her move was swift and sudden. The Government of India issued an ord
inance ('Banking Companies (Acquisition and Transfer of Undertakings) Ordinance,
1969') and nationalised the 14 largest commercial banks with effect from the mi
dnight of 19 July 1969. These banks contained 85 percent of bank deposits in the
country.[17] Jayaprakash Narayan, a national leader of India, described the ste
p as a "masterstroke of political sagacity." Within two weeks of the issue of th
e ordinance, the Parliament passed the Banking Companies (Acquisition and Transf
er of Undertaking) Bill, and it received the presidential approval on 9 August 1
A second dose of nationalisation of 6 more commercial banks followed in 1980. Th
e stated reason for the nationalisation was to give the government more control
of credit delivery. With the second dose of nationalisation, the Government of I
ndia controlled around 91% of the banking business of India. Later on, in the ye
ar 1993, the government merged New Bank of India with Punjab National Bank.[18]
It was the only merger between nationalised banks and resulted in the reduction
of the number of nationalised banks from 20 to 19. After this, until the 1990s,
the nationalised banks grew at a pace of around 4%, closer to the average growth
rate of the Indian economy.