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New banks: RBI zeroes in on five names for high-level panel to screen applications

The Reserve Bank is understood to have zeroed in on five names for setting up a high-level panel of experts from the banking and financial sector to screen applications of the 26 aspirants for new banking licences.

The final decisions on the names of the members of High Level Advisory Committee (HLAC) would be taken by new Governor Raghuram G Rajan, who would assume charge on 5 September. Sources said the names are that of market regulator Sebi chairman U K Sinha, insurance regulator Irda chairman T S Vijayan, pension regulator PFRDA chairman Yogesh Agarwal, Financial Services secretary Rajiv Takru and financial sector expert Y H Malegam, sources said.

Takru and Malegam are also board members of RBI. Malegam, an independent director on many boards, is also an external member of Technical Advisory Committee of RBI on monetary policy. In the 2001 round of guidelines for the new licences, the then-HLAC members were C G Somiah, former government auditor CAG, I G Patel, former RBI Governor and Dipankar Basu former head of State Bank of India.

RBI, the sources said, is currently screening the prima facie eligibility of the applicants including fit and proper criteria and other relevant parameters. After the screening of the applications by RBI the names will be referred to the high level panel for scrutiny. It will have its own procedures for screening the applications.
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