Raqeeb said that the move would attract trillions of dollars into India which would boost the economy.
Mumbai: BJP ally Shiv Sena has opposed the Centre’s proposal for an “Islamic window” or “Islamic Banking” however the Muslim community has welcomed the decision while expressing concern over politicising the issue.
H. Abdur Raqeeb, general secretary, Indian Centre for Islamic Finance (ICIF), said that though a committee helmed by former RBI governor, Raghuram Rajan, pushed the idea of inclusion of Muslim community into the mainstream, the move was needed right from the time of recession in USA in 2008-09. “Several committees were instituted and several discussions were held. Later, experts from the Muslim community were involved in the committee and finally, the Modi government took a decision to start at least an ‘Islamic window’ in the conventional banking system,” said Mr Raqeeb.
He added that there was no need for an amendment in the existing Banking Regulation Act and simply a notification would suffice. Mr Raqeeb said that the move would attract trillions of dollars into India which would boost the economy. However, Sena threatened not to allow banking in the name of any religion. Referring to the demonetisation drive, Mr Raqeeb said that the Muslim community had been most affected as a majority of Muslims did not have bank accounts. He said that if the Islamic Banking facility was made available in India, the community would suffer less. “If Japan has an Islamic Bank, London has it, and most of the non-Muslim countries have it, why not India?” he questioned while praising Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his decision.
Meanwhile, Nehal Sehgar, an expert who has studied north-east Asian countries, especially Islamic countries, criticised the government for deriving political mileage in the name of Islamic Banking. “It should not be politicised and if you really want financial inclusion of Muslims, don't term it as Islamic Bank or Shariya Bank,” he said.