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UPA comes forward to save Islamic Banking concept of Kerala

Tuesday, January 19, 2010 03:02:54 PM, Staff Reporter

Minister of Minority Affairs Salman Khurshid

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Malegaon: In an important development for interest-free banking in India, the UPA Government at the centre has come forward to save the initiatives taken by the Kerala Government to establish a financial institution in line with Islamic Banking.


The proposal was in doldrums after the High Court in Kerala stayed the activities of Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation (KSIDC) which was working to establish first interest-free bank of the country in Kerala.


However, according to a report published in Mail-Today, the UPA Government has offered a helping hand to Kerala in revoking a stay order by the state high court against setting up of an Islamic bank.


 "The Centre would coordinate with the state government in dealing with the issue legally" , Mail-Today quoted Minister of Minority Affairs Salman Khurshid as saying who also noted that the court order could hamper investment opportunities in the country.


Salman Khurshid was peaking at the editors’ conference on social sector issues on Monday.


“A lot of other countries are snatching investment from Islamic countries. The country is being deprived of such funds for the lack of an Islamic banking system", Mail-Today quoted Salman Khurshid.


He said the high court would be informed of the Centre’s stand on the matter. “ I think the finance ministry will deal with the matter,” he told the gathering. He said, if needed, the banking norms should be amended to comply with the Islamic banking system.


The Kerala government cleared the project after a feasibility study found that Islamic bank was a viable proposition in Kerala. A company was also registered to take the process forward. The share capital of the proposed bank had been fixed at Rs 1,000 crore.


According to the Islamic banking concept, the bank will not pay any interest to customers. A Sharia board can decide what sort of investments the bank can make. The bank will also have Sharia - compliant banking products.


Profits made out of the investments will be distributed to shareholders.

Convener of National Committee on Islamic Banking H. Abdur Raqeeb had met Khurshid last June on the feasibility of interest- free Islamic banking in India.


“ Islamic banking will be beneficial for the marginalised and the minorities in terms of microfinance. Major investment from the Gulf countries could also be attracted,” Raqeeb said.


He said if London, Singapore, Tokyo and Hong Kong can become “ hub and house of Islamic Finance & Banking”, Mumbai and Kochi can also follow suit.


Khurshid also said the Centre preferred a cautious approach on the issue of reservation for minorities.


“ Our manifesto is clear on this. We will apply Karnataka- Tamil Nadu model, which says backward among Muslims should get reservation, according to their population,” Mail-Today quoted the Minority Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid as saying.






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