The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has set up a three-member committee under former Governor Bimal Jalan to scrutinise applications for new bank licences, which are expected to be awarded by by January.
The panel will make its recommendations to the Governor and Deputy Governors, who will make the final proposals to the committee of the RBI central board.
"We have set up the committee under Bimal Jalan for bank licences, Usha Thorat (former RBI Deputy Governor), C B Bhave (former Sebi chairman) and Nachiket Mor (financial sector expert)...We will try our best to do it by January 2014," RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan said at a press conference in Raipur after a board meeting.
Rajan said the central bank would endeavour to do "as much as possible" before RBI Deputy Governor Anand Sinha, who looks after new bank licences, retires in January 2014.
There are 26 applicants from the public and private sector for 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.
Microfinance institutions such as Bandhan Financial Services and Janalakshmi Financial, too, have expressed their intention to set up banks.
RBI had issued guidelines for licensing of new banks in the private sector on February 22 and came out with clarifications in the first week of June.