The announcement of guidelines for new bank licences could be delayed, with the government likely to set up a panel to vet the draft entry rules framed by the Reserve Bank of India.
Financial services secretary S K Sharma said in Mumbai on Tuesday that the finance ministry had received the draft guidelines from the banking regulator. "We are currently studying those guidelines and will revert to the banking regulator with our comments," he said, adding that the focus would continue to be financial inclusion.
Sharma, however, refused to give details of the draft guidelines and the time frame for a decision.
The Economic Times, quoted a finance ministry official as having said that any decision would take time. "An expert committee can be set up to vet the guidelines before they become fully operational. Effectively, new licenses will be given by end of 2012."
Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee had said in his budget speech that the RBI was planning to issue guidelines before the close of the current financial year.
India currently has 27 public sector banks (owned by the government), seven new private-sector banks, 15 old private sector banks, and 31 foreign banks.