By : M.S.Yatnatti Editor and Video Journalist Bengaluru : Reportedly In India, the clearing system is local and confined to a defined jurisdiction covering all the banks and branches situated in the area under a particular zone. The clearing house is a voluntary association of banks under the management of a bank where the settlement accounts are maintained. Wherever Reserve Bank of India has its office (and a banking department), the clearing house is managed by it. In the absence of an office of the Reserve Bank, the clearing house is managed by the State Bank of India, its associate banks and in a few cases by public sector banks.
Keeping in view the technological progress in payment and settlement systems and the qualitative changes in operational systems and processes that have been undertaken by a number of Banks, the Reserve Bank of India had, with effect from 1st November 2004, withdrawn its earlier instructions to commercial Banks on (i) Immediate Credit of local/outstation cheques, (ii) Time Frame for Collection of Local / Outstation Instruments and (iii) Interest Payment for Delayed Collection. The withdrawal of these mandatory guidelines was expected to enable market forces of competition to come into play to improve efficiencies in collection of cheques and other instruments. This collection policy of the Bank is a reflection of our on-going efforts to provide better service to our customers and set higher standards for performance. The policy is based on principles of transparency and fairness in the treatment of customers. The Bank is committed to increased use of technology to provide quick collection services to its customers.
In India there are about 1050 cheques clearing houses. These clearing houses clear and settle transactions relating to various types of paper based instruments like cheques, drafts, payment orders, interest / dividend warrants, etc. In 40 of these clearing houses, cheque processing centers (CPCs) using MICR (Magnetic Ink Character Recognition) technology have been set up. At 14 more clearing houses, MICR cheque processing systems are proposed to be set up. The Reserve Bank has issued the Uniform Regulations and Rules for Bankers' Clearing Houses (URRBCH) which have been adopted by all the clearing houses. These regulations and rules relate to the criteria for membership / sub-membership, withdrawal / removal / suspension from membership and the procedures for conducting of clearing as well as settlement of claims between members.