XBRL stands for eXtensible Business Reporting Language. It is a language for the
electronic communication of business and financial data which is revolutionising
the business reporting around the world. It offers major benefits to all those who
have to create, transmit, use or analyse such business information. Some of the
benefits of using XBRL include cost savings, greater efficiency, improved accuracy
and reliability to all those involved in supplying or using financial data.
The basic idea behind XBRL is that instead of treating financial information as
a block of text or numeric items, a unique electronically readable tag is attached
to each individual financial term. It is not just the data or text that floats around,
these individual items move along with an electronic tag. Thus, it is not just the
'content' but also the ‘context’ is being transmitted. It is one among the family
of ‘XML’ languages which is becoming a standard means of communicating information
between businesses and on the Internet.
Within Reserve Bank of India, XBRL has been viewed as a natural evolution of the
existing Online Returns Filing System (ORFS). While ORFS does the job of data capturing
and transmission of returns from banks to the Reserve Bank, it incorporates no in-built
standardisation. XBRL enables standardisation and rationalisation of elements of
different returns using the internationally recognised best practices available
in electronic transmission. In the process, XBRL also facilitates the rationalisation
of a number of returns to be submitted by the banks, thus reducing the reporting
burden of banks.
Standardisation of data elements is achieved in XBRL by defining a set of 'taxonomies’.
Taxonomies have to be in sync with the global taxonomies recognised by the XBRL
International Inc. (XII), which is a consortium of regulators, financial standard
bodies and technology providers. XBRL is an open standard.
The responsibilities of forming a XBRL national jurisdiction and the implementation
of the standards for financial reporting in India have been entrusted upon XBRL
India. Reserve Bank of India is responsible for implementing the XBRL standards
for banks' reporting. Within RBI, the XBRL project is being regularly monitored
by a High Level Steering Committee appointed by the Governor.
In the XBRL system, the returns are being taken up in phases. Seven returns were
developed under the XBRL system in the phase I. These returns include Section 42(2)
Form A of RBI Act, 1934, daily return on Gap, Positions and Balances (GPB), Returns
on Capital Adequacy (RCA2 - a set of regulatory returns designed as per Basel II
guidelines), monthly returns like Form VIII, Form X, annual returns like Financial
Statement and Form IX.
The development of returns under the phase II started in the year 2012. The list
of returns submitted / taken up for development under the XBRL system is available here.