Meaning of Monetary Policy
The term monetary policy is also known as the 'credit policy' or called 'RBI's money management policy' in India. How much should be the supply of money in the economy? How much should be the ratio of interest? How much should be the viability of money? etc. Such questions are considered in the monetary policy. From the name itself it is understood that it is related to the demand and the supply of money.
Definition of Monetary Policy
Many economists have given various definitions of monetary policy. Some prominent definitions are as follows.
According to Prof. Harry Johnson,
"A policy employing the central banks control of the supply of money as an instrument for achieving the objectives of general economic policy is a monetary policy."
According to A.G. Hart,
"A policy which influences the public stock of money substitute of public demand for such assets of both that is policy which influences public liquidity position is known as a monetary policy."
From both these definitions, it is clear that a monetary policy is related to the availability and cost of money supply in the economy in order to attain certain broad objectives. The Central Bank of a nation keeps control on the supply of money to attain the objectives of its monetary policy.
Objectives of Monetary Policy
The objectives of a monetary policy in India are similar to the objectives of its five year plans. In a nutshell planning in India aims at growth, stability and social justice. After the Keynesian revolution in economics, many people accepted significance of monetary policy in attaining following objectives.
- Rapid Economic Growth
- Price Stability
- Exchange Rate Stability
- Balance of Payments (BOP) Equilibrium
- Full Employment
- Neutrality of Money
- Equal Income Distribution
These are the general objectives which every central bank of a nation tries to attain by employing certain tools (Instruments) of a monetary policy. In India, the RBI has always aimed at the controlled expansion of bank credit and money supply, with special attention to the seasonal needs of a credit.
Let us now see objectives of monetary policy in detail :-
- Rapid Economic Growth : It is the most important objective of a monetary policy. The monetary policy can influence economic growth by controlling real interest rate and its resultant impact on the investment. If the RBI opts for a cheap or easy credit policy by reducing interest rates, the investment level in the economy can be encouraged. This increased investment can speed up economic growth. Faster economic growth is possible if the monetary policy succeeds in maintaining income and price stability.
- Price Stability : All the economics suffer from inflation and deflation. It can also be called as Price Instability. Both inflation are harmful to the economy. Thus, the monetary policy having an objective of price stability tries to keep the value of money stable. It helps in reducing the income and wealth inequalities. When the economy suffers from recession the monetary policy should be an 'easy money policy' but when there is inflationary situation there should be a 'dear money policy'.
- Exchange Rate Stability : Exchange rate is the price of a home currency expressed in terms of any foreign currency. If this exchange rate is very volatile leading to frequent ups and downs in the exchange rate, the international community might lose confidence in our economy. The monetary policy aims at maintaining the relative stability in the exchange rate. The RBI by altering the foreign exchange reserves tries to influence the demand for foreign exchange and tries to maintain the exchange rate stability.
- Balance of Payments (BOP) Equilibrium : Many developing countries like India suffers from the Disequilibrium in the BOP. The Reserve Bank of India through its monetary policy tries to maintain equilibrium in the balance of payments. The BOP has two aspects i.e. the 'BOP Surplus' and the 'BOP Deficit'. The former reflects an excess money supply in the domestic economy, while the later stands for stringency of money. If the monetary policy succeeds in maintaining monetary equilibrium, then the BOP equilibrium can be achieved.
- Full Employment : The concept of full employment was much discussed after Keynes's publication of the "General Theory" in 1936. It refers to absence of involuntary unemployment. In simple words 'Full Employment' stands for a situation in which everybody who wants jobs get jobs. However it does not mean that there is a Zero unemployment. In that senses the full employment is never full. Monetary policy can be used for achieving full employment. If the monetary policy is expansionary then credit supply can be encouraged. It could help in creating more jobs in different sector of the economy.
- Neutrality of Money : Economist such as Wicksted, Robertson have always considered money as a passive factor. According to them, money should play only a role of medium of exchange and not more than that. Therefore, the monetary policy should regulate the supply of money. The change in money supply creates monetary disequilibrium. Thus monetary policy has to regulate the supply of money and neutralize the effect of money expansion. However this objective of a monetary policy is always criticized on the ground that if money supply is kept constant then it would be difficult to attain price stability.
- Equal Income Distribution : Many economists used to justify the role of the fiscal policy is maintaining economic equality. However in resent years economists have given the opinion that the monetary policy can help and play a supplementary role in attainting an economic equality. monetary policy can make special provisions for the neglect supply such as agriculture, small-scale industries, village industries, etc. and provide them with cheaper credit for longer term. This can prove fruitful for these sectors to come up. Thus in recent period, monetary policy can help in reducing economic inequalities among different sections of society.
Articles on Monetary Policy
- Instruments of Monetary Policy.
- Limitations of Monetary Policy.
- Recent Reforms in Monetary Policy.
- Evaluation of Monetary Policy.