EC to decide on new bank licences on Monday

EC to decide on new bank licences on Monday

The Election Commission on Wednesday said it will look into the issuance of new bank licences by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Monday.

Around two dozen public and private sector applicants, including India Post, IFCI and large business houses such as the Anil Ambani Group and the Aditya Birla Group, have applied for bank licences.

Election Commissioner H S Brahma also clarified that the government has not approached the EC for vetting of the Air Asia licence or issuing an ordinance to give more powers to capital market regulator, Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi).

Sebi was given powers last year through an ordinance, which was first promulgated in July and for the second time in September, but it lapsed last month as a Bill in this regard could not be passed in Parliament.

On the licence to Air Asia, Brahma said, “No company has sought any approval... not heard (anything from the civil aviation ministry)”. Recently, the aviation regulator dismissed the demand by domestic private airlines to not grant a licence to AirAsia India, the joint venture between the low-cost airline AirAsia with Tatas.

Asked if oil marketing companies could increase petrol, diesel prices, Brahma said, “If they are going ahead with market driven forces, they are welcome. It means there are certain areas where the market takes precedence.”

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