Finance minister P Chidambaram has said that the model code of conduct will not block the issue of new bank licences. “Code of conduct has nothing to do with the normal functioning of the government.
The indication we have got from the RBI is that they wish to issue a few licences soon,” Chidambaram told reporters after a meeting with the chiefs of state-owned banks on Wednesday.
The central board of directors of the RBI is meeting on Friday in New Delhi. RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan is also expected to address reporters after the meeting.
Meanwhile, senior financial experts said it will be prudent for the RBI not to announce any names at this juncture after the model code of conduct has come into force. “If I were the current RBI Governor, I would not have announced the names of successful entities and instead waited for after the elections,” said a top-level source on condition of anonymity.
RBI has retained the services of Anand Sinha as officer on special duty to oversee the process of issue of the licences even though his extended term as deputy governor has got over in January this year.
Sinha and his team have already received the report of the Bimal Jalan committee on new bank licences, constituted last year in October.
The four-member committee also includes former RBI deputy governor Usha Thorat, former Sebi chief CB Bhave and director of the central board of directors of RBI, Nachiket Mor. It has vetted the 25 applications for the fit and proper criteria to run banks to add to the 88 domestic and foreign banks in the country.