Letters to BS: Should RBI officers be generalists or specialists?

This refers to "It's divided house at RBI over new oversight cadre". I retired from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) about 36 years ago after serving it for over 35 years. I was associated with the work of RBI supervision and control of commercial banks during most of my years there. The controversy whether the RBI officers — entrusted with overseeing — should be generalists or specialists arose at the very inception, way back in 1949 when this function first devolved on the RBI. Under the then dispensation, it was decided that officers who were not specifically trained for this work should not be entrusted with it and those trained for it, should not be allotted any work unconnected with bank supervision and control. This arrangement worked for about 19 years till the specialised officers felt that they were being deprived of opportunities in various other departments of the RBI. As a result of their representations, came what was called Combined Seniority Scheme or CSS around the year 1978.


From the front page report in Business Standard on Monday, it appears that the problem has arisen again after some 42 years in a somewhat different garb. The sub-title "Crisis in the making" indicates that the problem this time is serious. The solution lies in an in-depth study of the problem by experts, keeping in mind the historical background and laying down the future course. It cannot be vouchsafed that it is possible to find out a permanent solution. With change of circumstances, new problems would arise and new solutions would have to be worked out from time to time.


 R C Mody, New Delhi

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