(MENAFN - Arab News) The Islamic Development Bank Group's (IDB) community development program in India was applauded during its 30th anniversary for its scholarship scheme. The scheme has benefited nearly 4,000 Indian Muslim students so far.
IDB President, Ahmed Mohamed Ali, who attended the event in New Delhi recently, said that about 3,000 IDB scholarship students have already graduated and hold important positions in the country as doctors, engineers, academics and entrepreneurs.
"I was very happy to attend the program organized by the IDB Graduates Association (IGA)," Ali told Arab News while commending IGA members for conducting various programs for the benefit of Muslims and other communities.
The IDB chief emphasized his bank's desire to expand its activities India, especially in developing endowment properties and financing educational and health projects. He also spoke of his wish to support a Haj fund similar to Malaysia's Tabung Haji that helps Muslims perform Haj through the revenues from the investment fund.
"We welcome the new waqf (endowment) law in India and are ready to cooperate with them in developing endowment properties," the president said. Ali highlighted the prospects of introducing Islamic banking and finance in India and praised the Reserve Bank of India for licensing an interest-free non-banking financial company (NBFC) in Kerala.
Malek Shah bin Mohamed Yusoff, head of IDB's scholarship program, said Indian students received 33 percent of the bank's scholarships. "About 90 percent of IDB scholars work in India, contributing to its development," he told Arab News. IGA has set up a scholarship fund, which supports nearly 900 students.
IDB launched the scholarship program in 1983 extending scholarships to deserving students in India, Sri Lanka and Kenya. "India has shown a very good example with IDB graduates involved in various community services," said Yusoff. He pointed out that the IGA has proposed an educational academy in Assam with IDB support.
"IGA members have also presented a five-year strategic plan. This is something unique as we have not seen such initiatives from scholars in other countries," Yusoff said, adding that the scheme was aimed at producing highly qualified Muslim professionals and community leaders. About 12,500 students in 50 countries have benefited from the scholarship scheme so far.
Speaking to Arab News, Essam Al-Shanqiti, manager of the division said, "IDB's Special Assistance Division has financed 271 educational and health projects in India since 1984. We empower Muslim communities to become effective partners in the development of their countries through human capital development."
Al-Shanqiti said IDB's assistance for building schools and colleges, hospitals and health centers, training and cultural centers in India amounted to 45 million. About 20 of the 271 projects are under construction, while the rest have been completed. He said that these have been distributed in the different parts of the country, with 61 located in the north, 81 in the south, 72 in the east and 57 in the west.