New Delhi: Islamic Development Bank Group’s President, Dr. Ahmad Mohamed Ali conferred last week in New Delhi with Indian Vice-President Mohammad Hamid Ansari, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Minister for Minority Affairs, Law & Justice Salman Khurshid and Minister of State for External Affairs E. Ahmed, Chairperson of Hajj Committee of India Mohsina Kidwai and Former Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha K. Rahman Khan.
During the meetings, Dr. Ali highlighted IDB Group’s role in economic and social development of the Bank’s member countries as well as Muslim communities in non-member countries. He touched upon ways for promoting social and economic cooperation between IDB Group and India’s Muslim community on a number of grounds including development of Awqaf properties and their cost-effectiveness improvement, savings management for successful Hajj Pilgrimage experiences, education programs including connecting madrasas via distance learning technology and scholarships.
IDB has so far supported 267 educational institutions in India with financial assistance amounting to US$ 42.8 million as grants. It has also launched a Scholarship Program since 1983 to enable outstanding Indian students to pursue higher studies in universities in various science and engineering related disciplines. To date the total number of beneficiaries in the Scholarship Program in India stands at 3,819 (comprising 2,986 males and 833 females), out of whom 2,564 have graduated as medical doctors and engineers. Refunding of US$ 2.25 million by 1,026 ex-scholarship holders now in the job market has practically led to offering 852 new additional scholarships.
Also during his visit to India, the IDB Group President addressed the opening session of a conference on “Hajj Pilgrimage Management” where he expressed IDB Group’s readiness to cooperate with India so that the Indian Muslim community could benefit from the Malaysian experience in Hajj management by replicating Malaysia’s “Tabung Haji” (TH) model. He thanked the organizers ‘Forum for Haj Pilgrimage Management in India’ to call him addressing such an important conference. Tabung Haji is an Islamic savings institution specialized in managing savings of its depositors enabling them to perform Hajj pilgrimage through investing these savings in various Sharia’h compliant economic activities.
“It is an important financial institution not only for management of Hajj affairs but also an institution which has practically turned into a significant financial institution encouraging individuals to save money for various purposes such as education and marriage in addition to investing in different economic sectors”, stated the IDB Group President.
During this meeting IDB Group President also discussed about scope of interest free banking and finance in India. Mr. Salman Khurshid also explained various schemes running through Minority Affair Ministry and the related benefits to Indian Muslims. He briefed the progress so far in India with regard to Islamic Banking and Finance. The IDB Group President also extended willingness to meet and discuss with RBI officials about relative challenges and scope of interest-free banking and finance in India.
Considerably if India opens gateway for Islamic Banking and Finance along with inviting IDB group for drawing foreign investor’s attention, India could get many big petro-dollar investors without interest burden; it would help India get required financial resources with putting control on fiscal deficit, rupee depreciation and inflationary pressures.
On the side lines of the event, Dr. Ali met with officials of India’s IDB Graduates Association (IGA), the Board of Trustees of Muslim Education Trust and the Indian Center for Islamic Finance.
(Two Cicle.Net / 25 June 2012)
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