The government on Tuesday said Bimal Jalan panel which is scrutinising applications for new bank licences is expected to complete its work by March 2014.

“The (Jalan) committee is expected to complete its work by the first quarter of the year 2014 and submit its report along with recommendations to RBI,” Minister of State for Finance Namo Narain Meena said in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha.

Thereafter, RBI will take a decision to issue in-principle approval for setting up of banks by the eligible applicants, he said.

RBI constituted a high level advisory committee under the chairmanship of for RBI Governor Jalan for screening of 25 applications for new banks in the private sector.

The guidelines for setting up new banks in private sector was issued in February 2013. The last day for receipt of applications was July 1, 2013, he said in reply to another question.

In all, he said, RBI has received 27 applications, out of which two applications — Tata Sons Ltd and Value Industries Ltd — have been withdrawn.

As regards the issue of possible conflict of interest and self dealings, he said, the RBI guidelines mandate setting up of wholly owned Non-operative Financial Holding Company (NOFHC) for setting up of a bank.

RBI has sought reports from the relevant agencies and financial statements are being scrutinised to form an informed opinion on the credentials and integrity of the applicants, he said.

In order to exercise an informed judgement on the credentials and integrity of the applicants and their group entities, reports have been sought from investigative agencies, financial sector regulators in India and overseas and other regulators, as applicable, he said.

As regards transparency of the process of evaluation of the applications and review of decisions, he said, RBI has informed that it will grant new bank licence consistent with the highest standards of transparency and diligence.

As all the applications received are under various phases of scrutiny for their eligibility for grant of licence, no probable list of applicants could be furnished at this stage, he said.