The Bimal Jalan panel, entrusted with scrutinising applications for new bank licences, held its first meeting on Friday.
The four-hour meeting of the high-level advisory committee (HLAC) was attended by other members — former RBI deputy governor Usha Thorat, former Sebi chief CB Bhave and director of the Central Board of Directors of RBI Nachiket M Mor.
“It was free-wheeling discussion,” Jalan, the former RBI governor, told PTI after the meeting. He, however, refused to divulge other details.
There are 26 applicants for new bank licences, including Tata Sons, India’s biggest business group, and firms controlled by billionaires Anil Ambani and Kumar Mangalam Birla. Among public sector units, India Post and IFCI have submitted applications.
Raghuram Rajan, who took charge as the governor on September 4, had said RBI planned to issue new bank licences around January. Earlier this month, he said RBI would endeavour to do “as much as possible” before RBI deputy governor Anand Sinha, who looks after new bank licences, retires in January.
RBI had issued guidelines for licencing of new banks in the private sector on February 22 and issued clarifications in the first week of June.