From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Integrated Ombudsman Scheme, RBI Retail Direct Scheme
Mains level : Not Much
The RBI has announced proposals for the Retail Direct Scheme for investors in government securities and the Integrated Ombudsman Scheme.
What is the Retail Direct Scheme?
- Under the scheme, small investors can buy or sell government securities (G-Secs), or bonds, directly without an intermediary like a mutual fund.
- It is similar to placing funds in debt instruments such as fixed deposits in banks.
- However, the same tax rules apply to income from G-Secs.
Benefits of RDS
- With the government being the borrower, there is a sovereign guarantee for the funds and hence zero risk of default.
- Also, government securities may offer better interest rates than bank fixed deposits, depending on prevailing interest rate trends.
- For example, the latest yield on the benchmark 10-year government securities is 6.366%.
How can individuals access G-Sec offerings?
- Investors wishing to open a Retail Direct Gilt account directly with the RBI can do so through an online portal set up for the purpose of the scheme.
- Once the account is activated with the aid of a password sent to the user’s mobile phone, investors will be permitted to buy securities either in the primary market or in the secondary market.
- The minimum amount for a bid is ₹10,000 and in multiples of ₹10,000 thereafter. Payments may be made through Net banking or the UPI platform.
Why was it necessary to introduce this scheme?
- Broader investor base: The scheme would help broaden the investor base and provide retail investors with enhanced access to the government securities market — both primary and secondary.
- Institutional investment: Accessing retail investors could free up room for companies to bring funds from institutional investors which may otherwise have been cornered by the government.
- Diverse borrowing for government: This scheme would facilitate smooth completion of the Government borrowing programme in 2021-22.
- Structural reform: It is a major structural reform placing India among select few countries which have similar facilities.
Why is the RBI setting up an Integrated Ombudsman?
- Prior to the introduction of this scheme, the RBI had three different ombudsman schemes to aid dispute resolution with respect to banks, NBFCs, and non-bank pre-paid payment issuers (PPIs).
- They were operated by the RBI through 22 ombudsman offices.
- The RBI would now appoint the Ombudsman and a Deputy Ombudsman for three years.
- Complaints may be made either physically to the Centralised Receipt and Processing Centre or the RBI’s offices; or electronically through the regulator’s complaint management system.
Back2Basics: Government Securities
- These are debt instruments issued by the government to borrow money.
- The two key categories are:
- Treasury bills (T-Bills) – short-term instruments which mature in 91 days, 182 days, or 364 days, and
- Dated securities – long-term instruments, which mature anywhere between 5 years and 40 years
- T-Bills are issued only by the central government, and the interest on them is determined by market forces.