The other entities which have been given 'in-principle' approval are Department of Posts, Cholamandalam Distribution Services, Tech Mahindra, National Securities Depository Limited (NSDL), Fino PayTech, Sun Pharma's Dilip Shantilal Shanghvi and PayTM's Vijay Shekhar Sharma.

"The 'in-principle' approval granted will be valid for a period of 18 months, during which time the applicants have to comply with the requirements under the guidelines and fulfil the other conditions as may be stipulated by the Reserve Bank," RBI said in a statement.

Going forward, RBI cited the central bank would use the learning from this licencing round to appropriately revise the guidelines and move to give licences more regularly, virtually 'on tap'.

Payment banks allow mobile firms, supermarket chains, and others to cater to individuals and small businesses. The Payments Bank will be set up as a differentiated bank and shall confine its activities to acceptance of demand deposits, remittance services, Internet banking and other specified services.

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