What is Ways and Means Advances (WMA)?

The Reserve Bank of India gives temporary loan facilities to the centre and state governments as a banker to government.  This temporary loan facility is called Ways and Means Advances (WMA).

The WMF for the Central Government

The WMA scheme for the Central Government was introduced on April 1, 1997, after putting an end to the four-decade old system of adhoc (temporary) Treasury Bills to finance the Central Government deficit. The WMA scheme was designed to meet temporary mismatches in the receipts and payments of the government. This facility can be availed by the government if it needs immediate cash from the RBI. The WMA is to be vacated after 90 days. Interest rate for WMA is currently charged at the repo rate. The limits for WMA are mutually decided by the RBI and the Government of India.

Overdraft

When the WMA limit is crossed the government takes recourse to overdrafts, which are not allowed beyond 10 consecutive working days. The interest rate on overdrafts would be 2 percent more than the repo rate. The minimum balance required to be maintained by the Government of India with the Reserve Bank of India will not be less than Rs.100 crore on Fridays, on the date of closure of Government of India’s financial year and on June 30, the date of closure of the annual accounts of the RBI, and not less than Rs.10 crore on other days.  The cash management of GoI has considerably deteriorated in the recent past, with situations of large surplus and large deficit. This has put tremendous pressure of RBI with respect to liquidity management and conduct of monetary policy.

WMA Scheme for State Governments

Under the WMA scheme for the State Governments, there are two types of WMA – Special and Normal WMA. Special WMA is extended against the collateral (mortgaging) of the government securities held by the State Government. After the exhaustion of the special WMA limit, the State Government is provided a normal WMA. The normal WMA limits are based on three-year average of actual revenue and capital expenditure of the state. The withdrawal above the WMA limit is considered an overdraft. A State Government account can be in overdraft for a maximum 14 consecutive working days with a limit of 36 days in a quarter. The rate of interest on WMA is linked to the Repo Rate. Surplus balances of State Governments are invested in Government of India 14-day Intermediate Treasury bills in accordance with the instructions of the State Governments.

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