Money lending in one form or the other has evolved along with the history of the mankind. Even in the ancient times there are references to the moneylenders. Shakespeare also referred to ‘Shylocks’ who made unreasonable demands in case the loans were not repaid in time along with interest. Indian history is also replete with the instances referring to indigenous money lenders, Sahukars and Zamindars involved in the business of money lending by mortgaging the landed property of the borrowers.
Towards the beginning of the twentieth century, with the onset of modern industry in the country, the need for government regulated banking system was felt. The British government began to pay attention towards the need for an organised banking sector in the country and Reserve Bank of India was set up to regulate the formal banking sector in the country. But the growth of modern banking remained slow mainly due to lack of surplus capital in the Indian economic system at that point of time. Modern banking institutions came up only in big cities and industrial centres. The rural areas, representing vast majority of Indian society, remained dependent on the indigenous money lenders for their credit needs.
Independence of the country heralded a new era in the growth of modern banking. Many new commercial banks came up in various parts of the country. As the modern banking network grew, the government began to realise that the banking sector was catering only to the needs of the well-to-do and the capitalists. The interests of the poorer sections as well as those of the common man were being ignored.
In 1969, Indian government took a historic decision to nationalise 14 biggest private commercial banks. A few more were nationalised after a couple of years. This resulted in transferring the ownership of these banks to the State and the Reserve Bank of India could then issue directions to these banks to fund the...