Islamic banking to debut in Gujarat, India
Jeddah-based Islamic Development Bank (IDB) is set to start its India operations from Gujarat. The international financial institution from Saudi Arabia has chosen Gujarat to set up its first branch in India. The state will also get 30 medical vans as part of IDB's social sector initiatives.
IDB's main objective is to foster the economic development and social progress of member countries as well as the Muslim community in accordance with principles of Shariah (Islamic law). The bank has 56 Islamic countries as its members.
During prime minister Narendra Modi's visit to UAE in April this year, India's EXIM Bank had signed a memorandum of understanding with IDB for a $100 million line-of-credit to facilitate exports to IDB's member countries.
IDB had also signed a $55-million pact with Rashtriya Institute of Skill and Education (RISE) to provide medical care to rural poor in India. IDB will provide 350 fully-equipped medical vans (mobile clinics) to India, 30 of which will be received for the tribal areas of Chhota Udepur, Narmada and Bharuch in Gujarat, in the first phase.
"IDB and its private sector arm, the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD), have already met with top officials of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), EXIM Bank and other nationalized banks. They are likely to start their India operations from Gujarat with a branch in Ahmedabad," said Zafar Sareshwala, chancellor, Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU), who had accompanied the PM in Saudi Arabia,.
The bank has also shown keen interest in small and medium enterprises (SMEs) of Gujarat.
"IDB's entry into Gujarat and India is likely to boost long-term private finance from its member countries on a large scale. IDB has also shown keen interest in the SME sector of Gujarat," Sareshwala added.
IDB is executing a project on Wakf properties in different countries. "There are a number of such properties in Gujarat. The properties stand neglected as Wakf Board or the concerned trusts do not have money to maintain these monuments. IDB is keen to finance projects under which these properties can be maintained and redeveloped," he said.
There are various areas and opportunities in India where IDB is planning to work in the future. Other than IDB, the government of Saudi Arabia is planning to set up BPOs for Saudi women with the support of India.