This entry has been written by Avi Prasad who stood first in the RBI Grade ‘B’ examination for 2012 Batch.
Career with Reserve Bank of India
Reserve Bank of India recruits Officers in Grade ‘B’ (General) and the number of vacancies usually range from 70 to 80 for each panel year. The candidate must be between 21 and 30 years (subject to relaxation for certain categories) and must have the requisite educational qualifications (First Class Bachelor’s degree/ Second Class Masters degree etc.)
The selection is usually through Written Examinations and Interview. Written Examination is conducted in two phases—Objective (Phase I) and Subjective (Phase II). The subjective exam is conducted 3-4 months after the objective exam for the candidates qualifying in the objective test.
The Objective Stage or Phase I of WE
Objective Paper is of 3 hours duration for 200 marks. The objective test or Phase I act as a filtering mechanism. The candidate is subjected to a predictable test similar to a MBA entrance or Bank PO exams. The question paper is divided in four sections—1) General Awareness, 2) Reasoning, 3) English and 4) Quantitative aptitude. Candidates have to secure minimum marks separately for each section. The number of candidates taking the exam is usually between 1, 50,000 to 2, 00,000.
The objective exam is not difficult and a candidate with average aptitude for such a general test will be able to clear it. There are certain points that distinguish RBI’s objective test from other similar exams:-
1. General Awareness and Reasoning occupy the pride of place in the exam and have greater number of questions and weightage compared to Quantitative aptitude and English.
2. A candidate is not allowed to move to the other sections unless the time allowed for a particular section has lapsed. So, if General Awareness has been allotted 45 minutes and 60 questions, the candidate will not be allowed to access the questions of some other section (say, English) unless 45 minutes are over, even if he or she has attempted all the 60 questions.
3. The sectional cut-off is usually low but the overall cut off for selection to phase II of written examination is often high, it can easily reach around 110 marks (for general category) out of total 200 marks.
Tips for Success in Phase I
Though there is no fixed method to succeed in what is essentially an aptitude test, there are certain tips that are useful for this stage of examination. It has been observed that general awareness section is dominated with current issues and economy based questions. The time tested strategy for preparing is the regular reading of a good national daily (The Hindu is usually a favorite). It is also useful to supplement it with a business daily (Business Standard, Business Line, Financial Express etc.)
The candidates with certain distaste for mathematics might need to push themselves, but only just. RBI DOES NOT expect you to be a human calculator and the questions are of a reasonable standard and with some practice even those who have not been on talking terms with numbers for years will do just fine. There are number of books available for Quantitative Aptitude for entrance examination, anyone which you feel is the best for you, can be relied upon.
Same could be said about level of reasoning questions; however, those who have not been in the race of a government job or a MBA seat might need to treat this section with caution. It is usually the time factor that counts the most in reasoning section. It is the second most important section after General Awareness and can make or mar a candidate’s prospect. RS Agarwal’s Verbal and non-Verbal Reasoning is an exhaustive book and can be relied upon to ensure good results. English portion is usually the easiest and does not require any particular preparation.
The result of this stage is usually declared within one month of the examination.
The Subjective Stage or Phase II of WE
This stage consists of three papers:
Paper I – English
Paper II – Economic and Social Issues and
Paper III – Finance and Management.
Each of these papers is of 3 hours duration carrying 100 marks. RBI provides an indicative syllabus with the clarification that it is by no means exhaustive. Thus related topics even though not specifically mentioned should be part of the preparation.
Syllabus for Phase II:
Paper I – English
Essay, Précis writing, Comprehension, Business/Office Correspondence.
Paper II – Economic and Social Issues:
Growth and Development – Measurement of growth : National Income and per capita income – Poverty Alleviation and Employment Generation in India – Sustainable Development and Environmental issues. Economic Reforms in India – Industrial and Labour Policy – Monetary and Fiscal Policy – Privatisation – Role of Economic Planning. Globalization – Opening up of the Indian Economy – Balance of Payments, Export-Import Policy – International Economic Institutions – IMF and World Bank – WTO – Regional Economic Co-operation. Social Structure in India – Multiculturalism – Demographic Trends – Urbanisation and Migration – Gender Issues – Social Justice : Positive Discrimination in favour of the under privileged – Social Movements – Indian Political System – Human Development – Social Sectors in India, Health and Education.
Paper III – Finance and Management:
Finance : The Union Budget – Direct and Indirect taxes; Non-tax sources of revenue; Outlays; New Measures; Financial Sector Reforms; Capital Market, Money Market and Foreign Exchange Market; Stock Exchanges and their Regulation; Capital Market Intermediaries and their Regulation; Role of SEBI; Functions of the Money Market; Growth and Operation of the Money Market; The Foreign Exchange Market; From FERA to FEMA; Exchange Rate Management; Exchange Risk Management; Role of Banks and Financial Institutions in Economic Development; Regulation of Banks and Financial Institutions; Disinvestment in Public Sector Units.
Management: Management: its nature and scope; The Management Processes; Planning Organisation, Staffing, Directing and Controlling; The Role of a Manager in an Organisation. Leadership: The Tasks of a Leader; Leadership Styles; Leadership Theories; A successful Leader versus an effective Leader. Human Resource Development: Concept of HRD; Goals of HRD; Performance Appraisal – Potential appraisal and development – Feedback and Performance Counseling – Career Planning – Training and Development – Rewards – Employee Welfare. Motivation, Morale and Incentives: Theories of Motivation; How Managers Motivate; Concept of Morale; Factors determining morale; Role of Incentives in Building up Morale. Communication: Steps in the Communication Process; Communication Channels; Oral versus Written Communication; Verbal versus non-verbal Communication; upward, downward and lateral communication; Barriers to Communication, Role of Information Technology. Corporate Governance: Factors affecting Corporate Governance; Mechanisms of Corporate Governance.
Importance of Good Performance in Phase II for Final Selection
If you want a career with RBI, you have to do very well in this stage. A poor performance here will end your progress to interview stage and even if you are somehow able to barely clear the cut off with low scores, then you will require an exceptional performance in interview and lot of luck to make it to final list of selected candidates. The interview is just for 50 marks while the written test is for 300 marks. There is no cut-off in the interview and thus a very good score in written stage insures you against a mediocre or poor interview. Candidates with very good scores in written and very poor performance in interview have made it to the final selection list but the reverse—great scores in interview and poor marks in written has often lead to heartbreak, failure and anguish. Please see the information provided by RBI for the 2010 panel year examination to appreciate the importance of Phase II:
Aggregate cut – off marks in paper I, II & III taken together in phase II written examination for shortlisting the candidates for interview (out of total 300 marks).
Aggregate marks in phase II Written examination and Interview taken together (out of total 350 marks) obtained by the last recommended candidate under the respective category with reference to the no. Of vacancies notified under each category.
Tips for Selection Phase II:
The previous examination question papers for this stage are available on the Internet and have been shared by the candidates on social networking website Orkut in a community named ‘Reserve Bank of India Grade B Exam-2009’ and ‘Reserve Bank of India Grade B Exam-2010’, a useful platform to share information and interact with fellow aspirants. There is no short cut for this stage and with the exception of Paper I (English), it requires some effort and focused preparation. Candidates who do not regularly appear for such subjective examinations or have undergone degrees that do not require them to write essay type answers in examination are advised to devote some time to honing their written composition skills as part of their preparation. Ultimately, coherence in presentation and lucidity of the language of the answer matters a lot, when there is not much to distinguish between answers of candidates.
For Paper I: No special preparation required.
For Paper II: Economic and Social Issues
For Economic Related Topics:
The following material is extremely useful to cover most of the syllabus for this paper.
1. Dutt and Sundaram’s Indian Economy (latest edition)
2. Uma Kapila’s Indian Economic development since Independence (latest edition)
3. Last 2-3 Years Economic Survey, Government of India
The questions are of essay type and familiarity with recent developments and relevant statistics shall be an advantage. Regular reading of editorial sections of good newspapers is a must as this paper usually has questions based on current issues.
For Social Issues:
This is a very broad area and there is no particular book which can be prescribed. Yet, Class XI and XII books of Sociology of NCERT are good background text for preparation. The questions are general is nature like corruption, reservation, environment, gender disparity etc. Some of the social issues are also addressed in the economic books suggested above. Reading a good monthly competitive exam magazine like Pratyogita Darpan etc., which focuses on current issues and topics of Group Discussion can be useful.
The candidate is given the choice to attempt any 5 out of 9 or 10 questions (economic and social issues combined).
For Paper III:
This is perhaps the trickiest part of the syllabus. The questions can range from unexpected (like write an essay on regulation of stock exchanges) to mundane (what do you understand by credit ratings). The best resource for this section is the websites of RBI and SEBI. The candidate should start with the FAQs section on the website of these two regulators. Since the questions are essentially on regulatory finance, it is helpful if one understands the regulatory and administrative framework for financial regulation in India. A start can be made by going through the Finance section of India Year Book by Publication Division, Ministry of I&B. Further, the best way to cover the topics in this section is searching through the reports available on RBI or SEBI’s website. The module VI of Company Secretary Executive exam by ICSI on Securities Laws is also a very useful resource. Report on Currency and Finance by RBI, also cover some important topics in this section. The candidate usually has to attempt 3 questions out of 5.
This portion initially disheartens some of non-management background candidates and appears a spoiler. But, the questions are usually very open ended (like comment on Great Leaders are born, not made) and with some background reading even a non-management background candidate will be able to articulate his views. It is advisable for the candidate to refer only to the standard texts as there is plethora of management books. The following books are established classics and can be relied upon to crack this portion easily. The candidate usually has to attempt 2 questions out of 4.
1. Principles of Management – Koontz and O’Donnell
2. Organizational Behavior: Stephen P.Robbins
The results for this stage are declared within 2 months of the examination.
Tips for Interview:
RBI’s panel has traditionally been parsimonious when it comes to awarding marks in interview. High scores are an aberration as even the successful candidates don’t score much above 30. However, interview is conducted in a very cordial manner and the questions are related to the candidate’s background. Banking terms related questions and being asked to comment on recent relevant financial developments is highly probable. No special preparation is required except reading newspapers to be in touch of current issues. But, if you are not comfortable with Economics and Financial terminology (Like CRR, SLR, NPA, etc.) then skimming through the Indian Economy Pratiyogita Darpan Extra Issue Series will be a good investment. Remain confident even if you have to face some unexpected questions. Interview is essentially a personality test as the knowledge has already been tested at written stage.
The interviews are conducted over a period of 6-8 weeks in different cities. The results are declared in 7-10 days of last interview. Usually the entire process extends to 11-12 months (from the date of recruitment advertisement to final results of the interview).
For questions related to salary and prospects, it best to quote from the RBI’s advertisement:
“SERVICE CONDITIONS / CAREER PROSPECTS:
(i) Pay Scale:
Selected Candidates will draw a starting basic pay of Rs.21,000/- p.m. in the scale of Rs.21000-1000-30000-EB-1000-32000-1100-36400 applicable to Officers in Grade B and they will also be eligible for Dearness Allowance, Local allowance, House Rent Allowance, Family Allowance as per rules in force from time to time. At present, initial monthly Gross emoluments to direct recruit Grade B Officers are approximately Rs.38,853/-.
Bank’s accommodation subject to availability, reimbursement of expenses for maintenance of vehicle for official purpose, newspaper, telephone charges, book grant, allowance for furnishing of residence, etc. as per eligibility. Free dispensary facility besides reimbursement of medical expenses for OPD treatment/hospitalization as per eligibility. Interest free festival advance, Leave Fare Concession (once in two years for self, spouse and eligible dependents). Loans and Advances at concessional rates of interest for Housing, Car, Education, Consumer Articles, Personal Computer, etc. The posts also carry benefits of Provident Fund, Pension and Gratuity. Total pay and allowances along with admissible perquisites attached to the post considering market value of housing in Mumbai work out at the minimum of Rs10.00 lakhs p.a. (approx.) on a cost to the Bank basis.
NOTE: For candidates possessing very high academic or professional qualification/ experience of significant value to the Bank, the Bank may, at its sole discretion, consider granting up to four advance increments. The Board, at the sole discretion, will consider requests for higher emoluments on account of higher qualification/special experience of value to the Bank at the interview stage only. Such information may be furnished in the Bio-data form in the appropriate column. The number of maximum increments will be 4. The Board/Bank will not entertain any request received after the interview.”