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IT in Banking 2003 (Special)
  Initiatives of: Reserve Bank of India
Implementation of Centralised Funds Management System

The centralised funds management system (CFMS) provides for a centralised viewing of balance positions of the account holders across different accounts maintained at various locations of RBI. While the first phase of the system covering the centralised funds enquiry system (CFES) has been made available to the users, the second phase comprising the centralised funds transfer system (CFTS) would be made available by the middle of 2003. So far, 54 banks have implemented the system at their treasuries/funds management branches.

Certification and Digital Signatures

The mid-term Review of October 2002 indicated the need for information security on the network and the use of public key infrastructure (PKI) by banks. The Controller of Certifying Authorities, Government of India, have approved the Institute for Development and Research in Banking Technology (IDRBT) as a Certification Authority (CA) for digital signatures. Consequently, the process of setting up of registration authorities (RA) under the CA has commenced at various banks. In addition to the negotiated dealing system (NDS), the electronic clearing service (ECS) and electronic funds transfer (EFT) are also being enhanced in terms of security by means of implementation of PKI and digital signatures using the facilities offered by the CA.

Committee on Payment Systems

In order to examine the entire gamut of the process of reforms in payment and settlement systems which would be culminating with the real time gross settlement (RTGS) system, a Committee on Payment Systems (Chairman: Dr. R.H. Patil) was set up in 2002. The Committee, after examining the various aspects relating to payment and settlement systems, submitted its report in September 2002 along with a draft Payment Systems Bill. The draft Bill provides, inter alia, a legal basis for netting, apart from empowering RBI to have regulatory and oversight powers over payment and settlement systems of the country. The report of the Committee was put on the RBI website for wider dissemination. The draft Bill has been forwarded to the Government.

Multi-application Smart Cards

Recognising the need for technology based payment products and the growing importance of smart card based payment flows, a pilot project for multi-application smart cards in conjunction with a few banks and vendors, under the aegis of the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, Government of India, has been initiated. The project is aimed at the formulation of standards for multi-application smart cards on the basis of inter-operable systems and technological components of the entire system.

Special Electronic Funds Transfer

As indicated in the mid-term Review of October 2002, national EFT (NEFT) is being introduced using the backbone of the structured financial messaging system (SFMS) of the IDRBT. NEFT would provide for movement of electronic transfer of funds in a safe, secure and quick manner across branches of any bank to any other bank through a central gateway of each bank, with the inter-bank settlement being effected in the books of account of banks maintained at RBI. Since this scheme requires connectivity across a large number of branches at many cities, a special EFT (SEFT) was introduced in April 2003 covering about 3000 branches in 500 cities. This has facilitated same day transfer of funds across accounts of constituents at all these branches.

National Settlement System (NSS)

The clearing and settlement activities are dispersed through 1,047 clearing houses managed by RBI, the State Bank of India and its associates, public sector banks and other institutions. In order to facilitate banks to have better control over their funds, it is proposed to introduce national settlement system (NSS) in a phased manner.

Real Time Gross Settlement System (RTGS)

As indicated in the mid-term Review of October 2002, development of the various software modules for the RTGS system is in progress. The initial set of modules is expected to be delivered by June 2003 for members to conduct tests and familiarisation exercises. The live run of RTGS is scheduled towards the end of 2003.

Reporting of Call/Notice Money Market Transactions on NDS Platform

Negotiated dealing system (NDS), which has become operational since February 2002, enables on-line dealing and dissemination of trade information relating to instruments in money, government securities and foreign exchange markets. Membership in NDS is open to all institutions which are members of INFINET and are maintaining subsidiary general ledger (SGL) Account with RBI. These include banks, financial institutions (FIs), primary dealers (PDs), insurance companies, mutual funds and any other institution as admitted by RBI. At present, all deals in government securities, call/notice/term money, CDs and CP executed among NDS members have to be reported automatically through NDS, if the deal is done on NDS and within 15 minutes of concluding the deal, if done outside NDS. However, it has been observed that a very sizeable proportion of daily call/notice money market deals is not reported by members on NDS as stipulated. With a view to improving transparency and strengthening efficiency in the market, it is proposed that:

1. From the fortnight beginning May 3, 2003, it would be mandatory for all NDS members to report all their call/notice money market deals on NDS. Deals done outside NDS should be reported within 15 minutes on NDS, irrespective of the size of the deal or whether the counterparty is a member of the NDS or not.

2. Full compliance with the reporting requirement to NDS will be reviewed in September 2003. In case there is repeated non-reporting of deals by an NDS member, it will be considered whether non-reported deals by that member should be treated as invalid with effect from a future date.

Compiled from RBI's Credit Policy & other notifications by Research Division, Banknet India. Banknet India is an IT focused banking research company. Read More



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