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Financial #inclusion push: Govt, RBI mull launching sharia-compliant Islamic banking here

The Reserve Bank of #India (RBI) has proposed opening of "Islamic window" in conventional banks for "gradual" introduction of Sharia-compliant or interest-free banking in the country. Both the Centre and RBI are exploring the possibility of introduction of Islamic banking for long to ensure financial inclusion. The central bank's proposal is based on examination of legal, technical and regulatory issues regarding feasibility of introducing Islamic banking in India on the basis of recommendation of the Inter Departmental Group (IDG). RBI has also prepared a technical analysis report which has been sent to the Finance Ministry.

Did this letter to PM Modi result in SBI deferring its Shariah fund?

The decision of State Bank of India (SBI) to put off the launch of a Shariah-compliant equity mutual fund has once again sparked debates on whether India should open doors to the concept of Islamic finance and facilitate a market for Shariah compliant financial products. The fund was designed to invest in Shariah compliant companies. Dinesh Kumar Khara, managing director and CEO of SBI Mutual Fund, said that SBI’s decision to defer the fund launch, originally planned in December, was a commercial call. On the other hand, Congress' member K Rahman Khan said in Parliament that the decision was due to political intervention.

Our polio funds will run out in two months: Pakistan

Pakistan's health ministry has said that if new funds are not arranged for the delayed anti-polio campaign, it is likely to halt after two months. The Economic Coordination Council (ECC) was supposed to approve funds for the campaign in the second week of August, but it has not been allocated owing to a political crisis. The Islamic Development Bank, Japan and other organisations were to provide a loan of $326 million, with the interest on the amount to be paid by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. A total of 115 polio cases has been registered in Pakistan this year. According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), only 39 polio cases were registered last year.

Politics, laws weigh on Islamic finance in India

Indian Islamic finance industry is still facing legal obstacles on allowing Sharia-compliant banking products in the country. Indian Muslim minority which is the largest in the word, nowadays cannot access Islamic financial services as the sector requires banking to be based on interest, which is forbidden in Islam. The issue of Islamic finance is being studied by the Reserve Bank of India since 2005.

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