Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) in India

Last updated:
Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR

Introduction to Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR)

The Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) is a critical financial term that everyone, especially those in India, should understand. CRR refers to the mandatory share of a bank's total deposits that must be maintained with the central bank, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). This ratio is vital as it ensures the liquidity and security of the deposits and regulates the money flow in the economy.

Importance of CRR

CRR is not just a number; it's a tool used by the RBI to control how much banks can lend and how much money is circulating in the economy. By adjusting the CRR, the RBI can either encourage banks to lend more or restrict them from giving out too many loans. This helps in controlling inflation and stabilizing the economy.

How CRR Works

For instance, if the CRR is set at 4%, it means that for every 100 rupees deposited in the bank, 4 rupees must be kept in reserve with the RBI. This reserve does not earn any interest for the bank, which affects how banks manage their funds and lending capabilities.

Objectives of CRR

The primary objectives of CRR are to:

  1. Ensure Bank's Liquidity: CRR ensures that banks do not run out of cash to meet their customers' demands.
  2. Control Money Supply: By controlling the amount of funds banks can lend, the RBI manages the money supply in the economy, influencing inflation and economic growth.

How is CRR Calculated?

CRR is calculated as a percentage of the total deposits a bank has. For example, if the CRR is 4%, and a bank has deposits of ₹100 crore, it needs to hold ₹4 crore in reserve either in cash or as a deposit with the RBI.

Rationale Behind Cash Reserve Ratio

The rationale for maintaining a CRR is to limit the amount of money that banks can put at risk. It ensures that a portion of depositors' money is always available, safeguarding their interests and maintaining trust in the banking system.

Interpretation of Cash Reserve Ratio

A higher CRR restricts the amount of money banks can lend, which could lead to higher interest rates and lower liquidity in the economy. Conversely, a lower CRR increases the money available for banks to lend, potentially boosting economic activities.

Penalties for Non-Compliance with CRR Requirements

Banks that fail to maintain the required CRR face penalties from the RBI, which can include fines or even restrictions on the bank’s operations, depending on the severity of the non-compliance.

Difference Between CRR and SLR

  • CRR: Cash Reserve Ratio is the percentage of a bank's total deposits that must be kept in the current account with the RBI or as cash on hand. It earns no interest.
  • SLR: Statutory Liquidity Ratio is the percentage of net demand and time liabilities that banks must have in the form of cash, gold, or other securities. It ensures that banks have a reserve of liquid assets in addition to cash.
FeatureCash Reserve Ratio (CRR)Statutory Liquidity Ratio (SLR)
PurposeTo ensure banks maintain a minimum amount of funds as reserves with RBI.To ensure banks have enough liquid assets to cover their liabilities.
ComponentsConsists of cash reserves that banks need to keep with the RBI.Includes cash, gold, and other securities.
Interest EarnedNo interest is earned on the reserves held as CRR.Banks earn returns on the assets maintained as part of SLR.
Liquidity ImpactDirectly controls the amount of cash banks can lend.Impacts the liquidity by requiring banks to invest in specific assets.
Regulated byMandated and regulated solely by the RBI.Governed by the RBI, but involves holding securities.
Flexibility in AssetsCRR requires holding cash only.SLR can be maintained in several forms, providing more asset flexibility.

Example of CRR in Action

Imagine a bank with ₹1,000 crore in deposits. With a CRR of 4%, it needs to maintain ₹40 crore as reserves. This reserve acts as a safety net for the bank and helps control the total money available for lending and spending in the economy.


The Cash Reserve Ratio is a vital component of India's financial regulation landscape. By understanding CRR, one gains insight into how banks operate within the economy and the measures taken to maintain financial stability.


  • How often can the RBI change CRR?

  • Does CRR apply to foreign banks operating in India?

  • What happens if a bank does not meet the CRR requirements?