India’s leading mobile carriers Bharti Airtel Ltd. and Vodafone India were among the 11 companies selected by the country’s Central Bank to set up payments banks aimed at granting millions of citizens access to formal banking.
Energy-to-telecoms conglomerate Reliance Industries Ltd., a joint venture of Aditya Birla Nuvo Ltd. and Idea Cellular Ltd., and the country’s postal office were also among successful applicants, the Reserve Bank of India said on Wednesday.
These companies selected will be given “in-principle” approval for 18 months, after which they will be given licences if they fulfill all conditions stipulated by the RBI.
A total of 41 companies had applied for the permit, the RBI said, adding “some of the entities who did not qualify in this round, could well be successful in future rounds.”
Payments banks will be able to take deposits and remittances but will not be allowed to lend. They are part of India’s financial inclusion push, meant to bring banking services to a country where less than half the adult population has a bank account.