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Small bank licence: RBI asks I-T dept to verify applicants' credentials

 The Hawk |  2015-07-26 07:56:24.0  0  Comments

New Delhi: RBI has asked the I-T department to get a 'tax angle' verification done for four dozen corporate entities seeking licence to operate small finance and payment banks in the country. RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan had recently written to the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), the apex policy making body of the Income Tax department, to expedite the matter and provide the banking regulator with inputs about individuals at the helm of these entities with businesses spread across the country and abroad, officials said. CBDT has asked its investigation and regular assessment ranges across the country to "quickly" collect the data and submit them so that RBI can take a final view on the grant of licences to eligible parties. "The inputs sought relate to financial and tax history of close to 50 entities, their owners and senior executives who have applied for getting RBI's licence to run small finance and payment banks," they said. It has been instructed by RBI and CBDT, the officials said, that any adverse record or observation about financial dealings of these entities, found out either by way of an earlier action by the taxman or through regular mechanism of intelligence and data gathering, should be reported. "In case there is no adverse finding, the I-T will send an all okay report," one of the officials said. Those entities for which tax clearances have been sought include Intellecash MicroFinance Network Company Private Ltd., SKS MicroFinance Limited, Capital Local Area Bank Limited, Electronica Finance Limited, Repco MicroFinance Limited, SE Investments Limited, RGVN (North East) Micro Finance Limited, Ujjivan Financial Services Private Limited, and Ashika Global Securities Private Limited. Vodafone M-Pesa Limited, NSDL, Cholamandalam Distribution Services Limited, Kishore LaxmiNarayan Biyani, RIL, NSE Strategic Investment Corporation, Aditya Birla, Airtel M Commerce Services Limited, Videocon D2H, and Sonata Finance Private Limited are also among the entities about which clearance has been sought from the tax authorities. Rajan had earlier said the Reserve Bank of India would be able to announce new sets of bank licences, or at least one set of them, by August-end. The RBI had received 72 applications for small finance bank licences and 41 applications for payment bank licences. The objective of licencing small banks is to promote financial inclusion by offering saving vehicles and credit to small business units and other unorganised sector entities. Small finance banks will primarily undertake basic banking activities of acceptance of deposits and lending to unserved and under-served sections, including small business units, small and marginal farmers, micro and small industries and unorganised sector entities. Payment banks would be allowed payment and remittance services through various channels. However, such lenders cannot issue credit cards or undertake lending activities. PTI

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