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RBI Proposes Islamic Window in Banks for Gradual Introduction of Sharia Banking

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has proposed the introduction of "Islamic window" in the conventional banks for "gradual" start of Sharia-compliant or interest-free banking in the country

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Reserve Bank of India. VOA

New Delhi, November 20, 2016: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has proposed the introduction of “Islamic window” in the conventional banks for “gradual” start of Sharia-compliant or interest-free banking in the country.

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Both the RBI and Centre are looking for the possibility of the introduction of Islamic banking so as to ensure the financial inclusion of those sections of the society that remain not a part due to mere religious reasons.

Islamic or Sharia banking is a finance system based on the principles of not charging interest, which is prohibited under Islam.

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“In our considered opinion, given the complexities of Islamic finance and various regulatory and supervisory challenges involved in the matter and also due to the fact that Indian banks have no experience in this field, Islamic banking may be introduced in India in a gradual manner.”

“Initially, a few simple products which are similar to conventional banking products may be considered for introduction through Islamic window of the conventional banks after necessary notification by the government.”

“Introduction of full-fledged Islamic banking with profit-loss sharing complex products may be considered at a later stage on the basis of experience gained in course of time,” the RBI has told Finance Ministry in a letter, according to PTI report.

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“It is also our understanding that interest-free banking for financial inclusion will require a proper process of the product being certified as Sharia compliant will be required both on the asset and liability side and the funds received under the interest-free banking could not be mingled with other funds and therefore, this banking will have to be conducted under a separate window,” it said.

Representational image. Pixabay
Representational image. Pixabay

The central bank’s proposal is based on the examination of legal, regulatory and technical issues regarding the feasibility of introducing the Islamic banking in India on the recommendation of the Inter Departmental Group (IDG).
RBI has also assembled a technical analysis report which has been sent to the Finance Ministry.

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“In case it is decided to introduce Islamic banking product in India as suggested, RBI would require to undertake further work to put in place the operational and regulatory framework to facilitate introduction of such products by banks in India,” the letter said.

by NewsGram team with PTI inputs

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RBI Working With Regulators For Better Security Lending Products, Says DG

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is currently working with other financial sector regulators like Sebi, PFRDA and Irda to develop an interest rate market

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RBI, security, finance, market
This is broken as Rs 1,23,414 crore as surplus for year 2018-19 and another Rs 52,637 crore of excess provisions identified by the committee as per the revised Economic Capital Framework. Pixabay

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is currently working with other financial sector regulators like Sebi, PFRDA and Irda to develop an interest rate market where mutual funds, pension and insurance funds could participate in securities lending to deepen market based finance and develop an alternate to bank finance.

“IRDA, SEBI and PFRDA too could help development of interest rate markets. For instance, short selling activity could benefit if a wider pool of securities lenders can be developed.

“Insurance and pension funds, mutual funds have significant holdings of Government securities that could be used to lent to short sellers. This would avoid short-squeeze incident we saw a couple of years back, apart from generating income for these entities.

“We are working with regulators to develop a securities lending product that could enable these entities to participate in securities lending,” B.P. Kanungo, Deputy Governor, Reserve Bank of India recently said at FIMMDA meeting in Moscow.

RBI, finance, security, market
Reserve Bank of India’s regional office at South Gandhi Maidan Marg, Patna. Wikimedia Commons

FIMMDA is a representative body of participants in the fixed income market in India.

He said the Indian financial sector which mostly has been a bank-based one needs to develop a robust fixed income market to bring in market discipline, to augment bank finance and indeed free up bank finance for uses that cannot access the market directly.

Development of the fixed income market has been an important objective of the Reserve Bank, the Government, the SEBI and other regulators these many years. Significant progress has been made, yet a lot remains to be achieved.

The Banking regulator is also currently looking at refurbishing some regulations on treatment of cash margins as deposits, payment of interest on such margins, posting of collateral abroad to enable participants to move to global margining standards.

“The risk management at market level is pretty robust, with central counterparty settlement, exchange traded products, trade repositories, legal entity identifier.

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But there is scope of improvement at entity-level as far as financial institutions are concerned, which will be tested with introduction of new accounting standards. Some other aspects of regulation – treatment of cash margins as deposits, payment of interest on such margins, posting of collateral abroad – are all under examination to enable participants to move to global margining standards.

Kanungo further said in the next five years the demand for bonds will significantly outstrip the supply.

“It is estimated that five years down the line, the demand for bonds will significantly outstrip the supply,” he said. (IANS)