India mulls Islamic banking stimulus

India is preparing legislation to promote Islamic banking as a way to make its financial markets more inclusive and provide new capital-raising opportunities to companies. India’s Ministry of Finance has formed an internal committee to study the prospects for Islamic banking. Sources said the ministry is talking to the Reserve Bank of India and the Securities and Exchange Board of India about introducing rules to streamline sukuk issuance by Indian entities, among other regulatory amendments. Although Islamic banking is not new to India, its services have not prospered. Existing regulation is prohibitive and there is a general lack of awareness about the benefits of Sharia-compliant finance. Sukuk could help close the US$300bn funding gap for the infrastructure sector.