Learn from Islamic banking success stories: Rahman Khan

New Delhi: Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman K. Rahman Khan Wednesday said India can learn from the innumerable success stories of Islamic banking and this would be discussed at the Indo-Arab economic conference to be held here Feb 3-4.

The conference is being jointly organised by the Indo-Arab Economic Co-operation Forum and the Institute of Objective Studies.

“It is an alternative system of banking, which ensures social justice.

There are some innumerable success stories of Islamic finance and banking that India needs to learn from,” Khan, who is also the patron of the Indo-Arab Economic Co-operation Forum, told reporters here.

External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna will inaugurate the conference to be attended by political leaders, corporate heads, academicians and policy formulators from India and the Arab world.

The theme of the conference is ‘Beyond the Meltdown: Search for Options’.

Islamic banking refers to system of banking consistent with the principles of Islamic law or the Sharia, which prohibits the payment or acceptance of interest fees.

Khan said India is the safest and most secure destination for investments and an Islamic banking system in the country could attract more investment from the Gulf countries.

“India is best positioned to absorb almost $3.5 trillion worth of Arab investments,” he said.

Khan said if the Islamic banking system is established in the country, it could also attract investment from a section of Muslims who are not interested in putting money in the banks for interest.

“Some Muslims are not putting money in the savings bank account. The Islamic banking is the one way of alternative saving investment. We are asking for an institutional mechanism,” he said.

Khan said a committee headed by the cabinet secretary submitted its report on Islamic banking and investment to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh two months ago.

The committee was appointed by the prime minister a year ago.

President of Indo-Arab Economic Co-operation Manzoor Alam said: “India is home to the world’s third largest population of Muslims, most of whom are disadvantaged, under-privileged and are looking to the state to provide sustenance and opportunities for employment, education and growth.”

“The Arab investments may be channelised into the social sector developmental projects across the states,” he said.

Alam said the Arab companies, especially the investment banks, could teach India “a few lessons in participatory banking” that would go a long way in giving Indian banks a more “humane face”.