The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has said it cannot disclose the Finance Ministry's response about the introduction of Sharia banking in India. The RBI had earlier proposed opening of Islamic window in conventional banks for gradual introduction of Sharia- compliant or interest-free banking in the country. RBI was asked to give the copy of the letter sent to it by the ministry on the recommendation of its Inter Departmental Group (IDG) regarding Islamic banking.
The central bank had sought response from the Department of Financial Services (DFS) under the finance minister whether their letter can be disclosed under the Right to Information (RTI) Act. As advised by the DFS, the disclosure of information would cause a breach of privilege of Parliament or the state legislature.
After a three-year pause The Islamic Development Bank (IDB) plans to sell ringgit-denominated sukuk in the Malaysian market. The IDB board has approved the issuance of up to 400 mn ringgit ($99.9 mn) in sukuk in 2016. IDB president Ahmad Mohamed Ali said it could be both private and public placement, but the specific size and timing of the deal depend on market conditions.
Sharjah Islamic Bank launched the sale of a $500 million sukuk on Tuesday at a profit rate of 2.95 percent. Final pricing is due to follow later on Tuesday. Abu Dhabi's Al Hilal Bank, HSBC Holdings, Kuwait's Liquidity Management House, a unit of Kuwait Finance House , and Standard Chartered Plc are mandated lead arrangers on the sukuk.
A huge number of experts in Islamic finance are needed due to continually emerging markets in India and abroad. Since already 75 banks all over the world have Islamic banking and finance branches, job opportunities for as much as 50,000 experts are open. Among these corporate banks are e.g. HSBC, Citigroup, Deutsche Bank and Standard Chartered.
India has an increasing number of Islamic mutual funds, most recently joined by Benchmark AMC, a fund house that specialises in index-based investing, has recently closed subscriptions for a Shariah-based fund. A similar offering from Taurus Mutual Fund, Taurus Ethical Fund, is currently open for subscription. The Taurus Mutual Fund notices that about 50 % applicants subscribers are non Muslims.
The Islamic funds have since inception outperformed the broader indexes. Nevertheless in current market conditions it is difficult to sell an equity scheme. Benchmark AMC is said to have placed somewhere between Rs 1-1.5 crore.