Why India needs Islamic banking

Islamic banking has a presence in India in the form of NBFCs and Baitul Mal (Islamic Treasury), but the business is small. Many Indian institutions, including some government-owned ones, have shown interest in this growing niche opportunity, for example Kerala government-owned KSIDC. India needs an Islamic banking model as a tool of financial inclusion. Moreover, India could attract the Middle East’s high investible surplus through Islamic banking and finance. However, there are also challenges, like the regulatory framework, dearth of Islamic banking professionals and lack of awareness. By not introducing Islamic finance, India is losing the opportunity of garnering capital from a large section of the Muslim population as well as from Islamic nations in the Middle East and elsewhere.

India’s first Sharia-compliant non-banking company to fund infrastructure and industrial projects

Cheraman Group, India’s first Sharia-compliant non-banking company is planning to fund several infrasturcture and industrial projects in the country. The company is gearing up to raise a large portion of its authorized capital of Rs10 billion (Dh588 million) from investors in the Middle East. Some of the directors of the group’s holding company Cheraman Financial Services Limited (CFSL), in which the Government of Kerala has a 11 per cent stake, met in Dubai last week and had consultations with senior officials of some of UAE’s banks and financial institutions as well as high net worth investors.Some of the projects under consideration include petrochemical and chemical plants and airport.

Kerala allows Islamic finance

India’s central bank has allowed a firm in the southern state of Kerala to operate as a non-banking financial company that follows Islamic principles ? a small step towards developing syariah-compliant finance in the country. Cheraman Financial Services said it had obtained approval to operate from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and would follow the Islamic ban on interest. RBI governor Duvvuri Subbarao has said Islamic banking was not possible in the country but syariah-compliant products could be delivered through alternative means.

Parsoli chief alleges 'harassment' by SEBI

After the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) cancelled Ahmedabad-based Parsoli Corporation's registration as a stock broker, the CEO of the firm, Zafar Sareshwala, claimed that his company had exited the stock-broking business voluntarily in 2010 and described the SEBI's move as a classic case of harassment. He claimed that SEBI had targeted his company because it was a Muslim firm and had proposed to bring in Islamic financing. SEBI had cancelled the certificates granted to Parsoli Corporation as a stock broker on both the National Stock Exchange and Bombay Stock Exchange due to observations that Parsoli was not fit and proper and was repeatedly found guilty of violating securities laws on more than one occasion.

Islamic finance to power Kerala startups

Cheraman Financial Services Ltd, jointly promoted by the Kerala government and non-resident Keralites, is to fund hundreds of cash-strapped student startups coming up in Kerala state, India. The Islamic financial institution has set aside Rs150mn for companies in the Startup Village, Kerala’s answer to Silicon Valley, from its Rs2.5bn Alternative Investment Fund that primarily targets the Shariah-compliant service and manufacturing sectors. There are more than 900 firms with innovative products started by students waiting to set up their units. At least one company of students with innovative ideas is being set up each day at the Startup Village. The Village aims to host 3,000 startups by 2020. Coming up on the same campus in this port city is the Kerala Technology Innovation Centre, another zone exclusively for bio-technology.

Islamic banking BPO at Infopark

Islamic banking is yet to get a foothold in the country with RBI not extending the permission, but the Indian subsidiary of a Kuwait company is setting up a global support centre providing Islamic core banking solutions at Infopark, Cherthala, on Friday. Path Solutions India is a wholly owned subsidiary of Path Solutions K.S.C.C, Ku­w­ait. According to Mohammed Kateeb, group chairman and CEO of Path Solutions, the company plans to have over 30 professionals working from its global support and development centre by the end of second quarter. Path Solutions wants to utilize the local skilled resources to deliver value-added software solutions and services to its clients. The centre will be opened by Aroor MLA A.M. Arif at 5 pm. IT principal secretary P.H. Kurien and Infopark CEO Hrishikesh Nair will attend the function among others.

Bank Asya keen to expand biz in India

Bank Asya is eager to achieve bilateral trade between the Indian and Turkish economies worth $15 billion over the next five years. Officials of the Turkish Islamic lender Bank Asya were in Mumbai to discuss the rapidly growing business ties between India and Turkey. The proximity of financial institutes between the two economies would benefit business and trade, according to Cenk Karacaoglu, Vice President, Bank Asya, Turkey. The rapidly growing Indian economy presents huge potential for business and trade with Turkey, he added. The bank will further expand business with Indian companies. Bank Asya has agreed to offer Shariah compliant banking facilities in India and was awaiting the regulator's nod.

Shariah compliant mutual funds yet to catch investors fancy

In India, there are only two fund houses, namely Tata MF and Taurus MF, which offer Shariah-compliant funds. Industry experts say that the major challenge in ethical funds is product awareness and its marginal market demand. These funds only cater to a particular section of society. Some experts also believe that the returns in Shariah funds are not very astonishing as compared to equity funds. Experts believe that creating awareness about these funds will help attract investors. Not only Muslims but also Hindu, Jain and other community might show interest after knowing the significance of these products, they added. The Taurus Ethical Fund was launched in 2009 and has benchmark of CNX 500 Shariah. The scheme has generated annualized returns of 20.97 percent since inception. The Tata Ethical Fund Plan A-G was launched in April 2001 and has given an annualized return of 21.36 percent. The benchmark of the fund is CNX 500 Shariah.

S&P BSE 500 Shariah First Index Launched By Bombay Stock Exchange And S&P Dow Jones Indices Strategic Partnership

Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) and S&P Dow Jones Indices have announced the launch of the S&P BSE 500 Shariah index, the first new index resulting from the strategic partnership formed between the two companies in February of this year. The S&P BSE 500 consists of 500 of the largest, most liquid Indian stocks trading at the BSE. The index represents nearly 93% of the total market capitalization on the BSE and covers all 20 major industries of the economy. S&P Dow Jones Indices has contracted with Ratings Intelligence Partners (RI) to provide the Shariah screens and to filter the stocks. BSE and S&P Dow Jones Indices announced on February 19, 2013, a strategic partnership to calculate, disseminate, and license the widely followed suite of BSE indices.

KSIDC partners with Islamic fund

The Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation (KSIDC) has partnered with Cheraman Financial Services Limited, a Kochi-based Islamic fund. KSIDC has 11 per cent share in the Rs. 250 crore fund which is a shariah-based entity aimed at funding selected sectors. Cheraman is the new avatar of the Al Baraka fund proposed by KSIDC two years ago. Cheraman has received the go-ahead from the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) and has been registered as a trust, despite the Reserve Bank of India stating that the Banking Regulation Act did not permit Islamic banking in the country.

RBI has a positive approach towards Islamic banking: Minister

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has taken a positive approach to the suggestion of an alternative banking system for Muslims after K. Rahman Khan, Minister for Minority Affairs, emphasized that it was the duty of the State to facilitate every citizen to practice and follow his/her religion. The RBI Governor pointed to the need for certain amendments to the laws concerned. The Minister said, in India the biggest issue was who should regulate the proposed alternative system, as it needed a strong monitoring mechanism. He added that concrete efforts should be made, such as setting up an expert committee to draw up a framework of an alternative banking system, along with a strong legal system to back it.

Juris Corp opens in Chennai, with Islamic banking expert Hufriz Wadia

Juris Corp is about to open an office in Chennai, the opening is scheduled for next week. Two weeks ago Hufriz Wadia, who is a former Wadia Ghandy associate and the sister of long-time Mumbai partner Hoshedar Wadia, became partner at the company. Her focus of operation will be growing the firm’s banking, corporate, dispute resolution and real estate practice in Chennai. She will particularly concentrate on Islamic finance.

Politics and law weigh on Islamic finance in India

Islamic finance in India is strongly limited by the country's ban on sharia-compliant banking. However, the industry intends to create a work-around by developing specific products that can take this function. Due to the political and legal obstacles any progress is expected to be rather slow. Meanwhile, 177 million Muslims in India, which constitute the world's largest Muslim minority population, have no access to Islamic banking since laws covering the sector require banking to be based on interest, which is not allowed in Islam.

More investors eye entry into Shariah-based funds

Indian private equity firms are more and more interested about entering Shariah-based funds market. According to Taqwaa Advisory and Shariah Investemt Solutions, there are at least six financial institutions with plans to issue Shariah-compliant funds in India.

Financial Inclusion for Muslims in India: How Can Islamic Finance Help?

Ethica Institute of Islamic Finance in partnership with Infinity Consultants recently released a live talk titled "Achieving Financial Inclusion for Muslims in India - How Can Islamic Finance Help?" It is held by Saif Ahmed, Managing Partner at Infinity Consultants. The webinar introduces a completely new dimension to the topic of financial inclusion in India for Muslims. Saif Ahmed pointed out that the Muslim's requirements for Islamic financial products and services have been absent from discussions and policy initiatives even though the government strongly pushes towards financial inclusion.

Islamic banking not possible: Subbarao

D. Subbarao, governer of RBI, explains that because of legal issues, Islamic banking will not be possible in Kerala. This is the only state in the country which has been striving for introduction of Islamic banking. RBI has already addressed Indian government on the matter pointing out the necessary amendments. Subbarao further suggests that the restriction on Islamic banking could have a work-around through other models instead of banking. These have been proposed to the government of Kerala.

RBI Needs to Evaluate Principles of Islamic Monetary System

The only tool (of interest rate) for RBI to control liquidity for balancing inflation and growth rate is not enough resulting in the inability to allow India grow better without inflation. Trying to exert control on inflation, RBI fails in terms of interest rate and the country's economic growth tumbles. According to RBI Governor, growth rate will decline and there will be an increase in inflation. He further indicates that in 2013 inflation is expected to rise in the third quarter followed by an ease in the fourth quarter.

Jeddah-based group lobbies for interest-free banking in India

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has been urged by The Jeddah-based Indian Forum for Interest-Free Banking to clear huddles for granting license for Shariah-compliant banks and financial institutions to operate in India.

In a petition submitted to the prime minister at the Emerging Kerala Global Connect they said it would open floodgates infrastructural funding for India.

More on:

Interest-free in India?

According to Reserve Bank of India, Indian banks are not legally allowed to involve in Islamic banking operations. Even though India is the country with the third largest Muslim population, Islamic finance has been denied several times already. Due to lack of interest-free banking products people, economically disadvantaged strata of society, cannot access banking products and services because of faith issues. In addition, India is cut off substantial sources of savings from near countries.

More on:

India offers vast scope for Islamic banking

It was reported that Indian authorities intend to introduce some form of interest-free banking. Thus, the country’s unbanked Muslim populations shall be brought into mainstream banking. This initiative is likely to result in a huge rise in Islamic Banking and in a significant gain for Indian banking as well. While a channel for substantial fund flow from areas such as the Gulf region will be opening up, a huge number of new customers will join the Indian banking sector.

Syndicate content