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RBI seeks to keep an eye on payment system
December, 01st 2007
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has called for regulation of the entire payments system infrastructure institutions, instruments, rules, procedures, standards and technical means to ensure an efficient and reliable payments and settlement system in India.

RBI, in its report on Oversight of Payment Systems in India, which was placed on its website this week, has said that certain large value transaction and securities settlements in the financial market can go so high that settlements for two to three days can be equivalent to a countrys GDP. Such high-value payment systems are termed systematically important payment systems (SIPS).

In India too, SIPS are high, though not as high as in many of the matured markets. According to the report, the turnover in the SIPS segment constituted more than four-fifth of the total turnover Rs 3,51,16,277 crore of the total Rs 4,23,74,063 crore in 2006-07.

The central bank has made a detailed assessment of SIPS against the international standards published by the Committee on Payment and Settlement Systems (CPSS) and the Bank for International Settlements (BIS). While in most areas, it has found the compliance level close to the international benchmarks, it says that some areas still needed improvement.

For instance, the integration of the Integrated Accounting System (IAS) with real-time gross settlement system (RTGS) has been implemented in July 2006. But the liquidity management is now expected to be done by participants themselves. The monitoring of the request for intra-day liquidity (IDL) and its usage by individual participants is not being done currently, but would be taken up, the report said.

It needs to be ensured that participants also are transparent about services offered to their customers. The participants should also do a self assessment and understand the risks they face and follow self discipline. Banks should also be transparent about their policies for the services they provide to users.

Though the central bank, from time to time, has indicated the need for this, only a few banks are seen to be following it as has been observed from a recent survey conducted by DPSS, RBI.

The central bank has also called for laying down standards for cooperation with other regulators/supervisors in the financial system within the country and internationally, besides taking a key role in central banking co-operation in the SAARC region.
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