Economics Department in Reserve Bank of India (RBI), established as an independent Department in 1959, was reorganised as Department of Economic Analysis and Policy (DEAP) in 1982 to provide a better focus on economic issues while maintaining a viable size. Further in September 2010, the Department was restructured in view of fast-changing economic environment domestically as well as globally and it was re-named as Department of Economic and Policy Research (DEPR). The primary function of the Department is to provide advice and assistance to the Bank on policy issues particularly related to the economic and financial developments in India and abroad. The Department has recently been awarded ISO 9001:2008 certification.
The Department undertakes policy-oriented economic research and is a primary source of data relating to monetary aggregates, balance of payments, household financial savings, state government finances and capital markets. It also prepares weekly economic and financial reports for the Committee of the Central Board and maintains an up-to-date management information system on macroeconomic and financial issues for the top management and other operational Departments of the Bank. This is accomplished through constant policy-oriented research activities covering, broadly, the entire spectrum of the financial system, besides the real sector.
The Department brings out seven major publications - four annual, viz., the Annual Report, Report on Trend and Progress of Banking in India, Report on Currency and Finance and Finances of State Governments; a monthly Bulletin along with its Weekly Statistical Supplement and Reserve Bank of India Occasional Papers - a tri-annual research journal - and Working Papers. It is interesting to note that the Department embarked on the publication of the Reserve Bank of India Bulletin a monthly economic and financial journal - in January 1947 - signifying that the Bank was well ahead of some of the contemporaries in this area. The Department brings out the document on Macroeconomic and Monetary Developments, which accompanies the Quarterly Monetary Policy Statement. Recently, the Department has started publishing a Working Paper series on its website with a plan to develop them into full-fledged research papers to be considered for publication in either the Occasional Papers or in external research journals. The analytical rigour, coverage and timeliness of these publications have established them as reference documents among the market participants, analysts, academics and the international community.
The initiatives of the Department in this direction have been strengthened over time and the major strides are a theme-based approach to the Report on Currency and Finance since 1998-99; introduction of quarterly reviews on 'Macroeconomic and Monetary Developments' since 2005 and the Working Paper series in 2011.
The role of the Department as advisor to the Government has appreciably increased over the years. A significant contribution of the Department was the expert inputs for the financial sector reforms in 1991, especially in the areas of fiscal and financial sector including banking and balance of payments. The Department played a key role in preparation of the Reports of three Working Groups on Money Supply. It was also actively involved in preparation of technical papers on fiscal issues pertaining to limits on public debt and stoppage of automatic monetisation of fiscal deficit in 1997. A recent major initiative is the technical support extended by the Department in formulating the draft for Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM) Act for the Central and the State Governments. The Department has provided insights on the issue of rising government guarantees in the form of a Technical Report on assessment of risks.
Besides the operational Departments within the Reserve Bank, the services of the officers of the Department are availed of by the Government of India (Ministry of Finance and Ministry of External Affairs) and other domestic organisations, International Financial Institutions (IMF, BIS, etc.) and foreign central banks on a continuous basis. The Bank's interface with most of the international bodies/expert groups such as the IMF, the BIS, the G-20 and various credit rating agencies, etc., are generally handled by the DEPR. The DEPR provides technical support to the Planning Commission and Finance Commissions.