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Sept 20, 2016: Zaheer Chauhan, a public relations consultant in Mumbai, laments the fact that Islamic banking is not available in India.
He uses conventional banking, but he tends to keep his financial activities with the bank to a minimum because as a Muslim, he simply would not be comfortable with certain transactions.
“I’d prefer to use an Islamic bank,” Chauhan says to The National that “One of the major reasons is interest on finance is prohibited [under Islamic law] and Islamic banking would give all the benefits without interest,” mentioned thenational.ae reports.
“The entire game of interest is holding me back from investing, be it in mutual funds, taking loans for a car, property, consumer durable,” he says.
— Islamic Finance-IFG (@IFGateway) September 18, 2016
But it may not be too long before Islamic banking is available in the country, with strides being made towards introducing the alternative system.
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), as part of its plan to boost financial inclusion in the country, has proposed to the government that interest-free banking be introduced in India, according to the central bank’s recently released annual report.
This could pave the way for Islamic banking in the country, although strong opposition is coming from some corners.
In Islamic banking, which follows the Sharia, interest is not allowed and should not be paid or collected on deposits and loans. Also, investments should not be made in areas prohibited under Islam, such as alcohol and pork. To earn money, instead of interest, Islamic banks rely on profit-sharing and fees.
“It is observed that some sections of the Indian society have remained financially excluded for religious reasons that preclude them from using banking products with an element of interest,” the RBI report stated. “Towards mainstreaming these excluded sections, it is proposed to explore the modalities of introducing interest-free banking products in India in consultation with the government.”
The State Bank of India was planning to launch a Sharia-compliant mutual fund about two years ago but the plan was scrapped at the last minute. The Sunday Guardian reported that this was because Swamy had intervened to halt the launch.
In a letter to the Indian newspaper, he was reported as having written that Islamic banking would be “politically and economically disastrous for our country”, and he expressed concerns that it could lead to “dubious funds” being brought into the country via Islamic banks.
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But Narendra Modi’s government is eager to advance financial inclusion in the country so that more of the population can come under the formal banking system.
Abhimanyu Sofat at India Infoline, a financial services company with its headquarters in Mumbai, says that Islamic banking does have “big potential” given the number of Muslims in the country, but he thinks that any introduction of Islamic banks could be a lengthy process.
“There could be new legislation that would be required to get this implemented,” he says. There are a couple of mutual fund schemes in India that are Sharia-compliant, although they are marketed as “ethical” funds, mentioned thenational.ae reports.
Previously, the RBI had taken the position that Islamic finance could be offered through non-banking institutions – but should not be offered through banks. This latest move, therefore, marks a significant shift.
India has more than 180 million Muslims, so many believe there is a huge opportunity for Islamic banking to take off in the country.
“The RBI has given its opinion and it’s now up to the government of India to make up its mind,” says H Abdur Raqeeb, the general secretary of the Indian Centre for Islamic Finance.
Middle class and wealthy Muslims in India “reluctantly” use the conventional banking system, because they have no choice, while some Muslims, avoid using banks altogether because the system goes against their religious beliefs, he says.
He says that he expects to see Islamic banking launched in India within the next year following the latest signs that there is a push towards its introduction.
“There is definitely scope and space for Islamic banking in India,” he says. “I don’t think it can be stopped from coming for much longer.”
Kerala’s finance minister, T M Thomas Isaac, last month said the state’s government would launch Islamic banks within the next two years, Indian newspaper The Hindu reported. He said that Islamic banking offered an alternative system to the capitalist structure that triggered the global economic crisis of 2008, according to the newspaper.
Mr Raqeeb insists that Islamic banking is not necessarily only for Muslims and it could help to bring more Indians from poorer backgrounds into the banking system. Farmers could be among those to benefit, he says, with farmer suicides in India often linked to crippling high-interest loans that they have taken out.
“The marginalized people and the minorities are excluded from banking, so we think if this alternative system comes, it will be inclusive.”
There have been other recent steps towards Islamic banking in India. Saudi Arabia’s Islamic Development Bank this year announced plans to launch its operations in Ahmedabad in Gujarat, a state in west India. But there are politicians in the ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) that are vehemently opposed to the introduction of Islamic banking in India.
The most vocal of them is Subramanian Swamy. The BJP politician has long argued fiercely against Islamic banking and does not believe that it has a place in the secular society of India. On Twitter, he once said that “Islamic banking is a failure in Dubai” and in India it would “be conduit for religious conversion – no loan to Hindus on technicalities”.
– by Shayari Dutta of NewsGram. Twitter: @shayari_dutta
By Plabita Sharma
The World Vegan month of November usually brings with itself an increased amount of dialogue and searches about Vegan lifestyle, sustainable living and clean beauty. Before pondering any further, it is important to understand what the Vegan lifestyle is and how it goes beyond the concept of consuming a plant-based diet. Veganism essentially is a lifestyle that is driven by compassionate choices and an increased awareness of one's actions on the world. Thus motivated by the two, a vegan individual usually carefully curates their day-to-day practices in a manner that does little to no- harm to the planet, the people and all of its inhabitants.
Beauty as industry has time and again been scrutinised for its effects on the consumers and the ecosystem - this can be during the manufacturing process or the effect it has on the consumer's thought processes. Now, as the world moves towards adopting Global Sustainability Goals, committing to a world that works with the natural resources instead of against them - it is only fair for each individual to be curious about making the right choices to make their beauty bag as consciously curated as possible. With multiple brands coming up with new standards of vegan and sustainable beauty, many consumers are left confused and doubting the authenticity of these claims. So here is a quick guide that can help you make the right choices:
Vegan and cruelty free labels: Keeping true to the traditional meaning of Vegan - any vegan beauty product means that it is completely plant based and has no animal ingredients or any of their by-products like honey, beeswax, dairy product etc. Similarly, cruelty-free as a label means that the ingredients or the final product did not test on animals or harm any animals during the production process. One way to test the authenticity is to check if these products are legally certified by PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), or verified by Vegan organisations as The Vegan Society and others. Cruelty-free and vegan products are also generally categorized by having cleaner and gentler formulas as they are mostly deprived of harsh chemicals and solvents.
Any vegan beauty product means that it is completely plant based and has no animal ingredients or any of their by-products like honey, beeswax, dairy product etc. | Photo by Drew Dizzy Graham on Unsplash
Ethical and natural ingredients: It is equally important to invest in products that use ethically sourced and sustainably harvested ingredients. Since most vegan products tend to be plant derived it is of utmost value to ensure that while the source is nature, the impact of manufacturing is also minimal so that there is no harm done to the environment. Often the face scrubs used by us are most damaging not just to the face and to the marine life as well; thus opting for more natural ingredients rather than synthetic ones is quite beneficial. Some natural scrubbing ingredients are sugar, salt, coffee which are safe for the coral reefs and far gentler than synthetic scrubs.
It is equally important to invest in products that use ethically sourced and sustainably harvested ingredients. | Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash
Sustainable and ecofriendly packaging: While the ingredients and formulation can be certified, it is also important to pay attention the quality, material and nature of the packaging in which the product is being stored. With an increase in clean-beauty standards, the consumption of such products has also increased, thus giving brands the opportunity to further develop their packaging in a manner that is sustainable and its increased quantity does not harm the environment. This could translate into using raw materials that are recycled and can be renewed or even introducing the concept of up-cycling the product packaging for decoration or storage purposes. Fore example, The Body Shop has recently launched a new line of vegan hair care and body butters; that are not only made of 95 per cent ingredients of natural origin but the packaging is made of recycled plastic that can further be recycled thus continuing the recycling system. Their makeup brushes also have wooden handles instead of plastic ones this adds to their classy appearance and use of ecofriendly material.
The Body Shop has recently launched a new line of vegan hair care and body butters; that are not only made of 95 per cent ingredients of natural origin but the packaging is made of recycled plastic. | Photo by Oli Dale on Unsplash
The above is a small snippet in a long list of things that can help contribute to a cleaner and more consciously lifestyle. Where demand increase, supply follows - as people begin to demand ethical, responsible production and products, more and more brands have begun to deliver. Household names such as The Body Shop have pioneered conversations on clean, green and sustainable beauty for decades - thus making them a frontrunner for several old time vegan people.
(Article originally published on IANSlife) (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: Beauty, makeup, clean, November, World Vegan month, New Standards , Vegan, Conscious
Designer Payal Singhal launched her first ever shop in New Delhi at Aza, Ambawatta One, Mehrauli. At this new location, she also unveiled "Suroor" her Winter Festive' 2021 collection for Women that stays true to the brand's DNA of deconstructing and reimagining traditional Indian silhouettes for the modern aesthete.
The collection is replete with hybrid lehenga with cut-outs, sharara sets, kaftan kurtas and anarkalis; all enhanced with intricate mukaish, zardozi, gota, nakshi, pitta and mirror work. Statement yokes, the latest take on the House's signature back-tie choli, and a new burst of #PSPrints are also an integral part of the collection. For the first time, Payal has worked with bandhanis developed in Jaipur, but with her inimitable twist - using the technique on tussar instead of silks. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: Winter, Suroor, New Delhi, Designer, Payal Singhal, shop
Today marks the 114th birth anniversary of Harivansh Rai Bachchan, a renowned Indian poet. He is popularly known for his poem ‘Madhushala’.
Early life of Harivansh Rai Bachchan
Harivansh Rai Bachchan was born on the same date in 1907 in the village of Bahupatti, United Provinces of Agra and Oudh in British India. From the year 1941 to 1957, he taught English at the Allahabad University, and after that, Bachchan spent the next two years at St. Catharine’s College, Cambridge, completing his PhD W.B. Yeats. Interestingly, when Harivansh Rai started writing, instead of using his real surname, Shrivastava, he started using Bachchan.
Career of Harivansh Rai Bachchan
It must be noted that Harivansh Rai Bachchan was well fluent in many languages including Hindustani and Awadhi. Though, Bachchan did not know how to read Persian script, still he was very much influenced by Persian and Urdu poetry. Omar Khayyam was one such personality who influenced Bachchan big time. Some of the most celebrated works of this stalwart are Madhushala (1935-36), Agneepath, Khadi Ke Phool (1948), Dhaar Ke Idhar Udhar (1957), Jal Sameta (1973), etc. Bachchan was awarded with the esteemed Padma Bhushan in the year 1976.
So, on the occasion of 114th birth anniversary of one of the greatest poets of India, we must pay a heartfelt tribute to the legendary Harivansh Rai Bachchan for leaving behind his golden words!
Keywords: India, Artists, Poets, Harivansh Rai Bachchan, Literature.