Gold schemes unveiled for deposits and sovereign bonds



By NewsGram Staff Writer

New Delhi: In a bid to tap the vast amount of idle gold with people and put it to productive use, two schemes were on Wednesday unveiled by the Indian government — one on physical deposit of the metal against its rupee value on paper and the other for issuing sovereign bonds.

To put the vast amount of idle gold with people to productive use, the Indian Government unveiled two schemes on Wednesday, which deals with the physical deposit of the metal against its monetary value on paper, and the issuing of sovereign bonds.

The schemes encourage people to either park their idle gold assets at designated agencies or buy government-guaranteed gold bonds, both of which come with an interest component. The deposit scheme will also have a loan scheme for jewellers.

“The long-term objective which is sought through this arrangement (gold deposit scheme) is to reduce the country’s reliance on the import of gold to meet domestic demand,” Finance Minister Arun Jaitley told reporters after a meeting here of the union cabinet under Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“The (sovereign gold bond) scheme will help in reducing the demand for physical gold by shifting a part of the estimated 300 tonnes of physical bars and coins purchased every year for investment into gold bonds,” Jaitley added.
Under the bond scheme, up to 500 grams worth of bonds per annum can be bought by an individual with a lock-in of five-to-seven years, bearing appropriate interest to protect from volatility. The other scheme calls for people to deposit their gold with authorised agencies for an interest.

According to the World Gold Council, an estimated 2.2-crore to 2.3-crore kilograms of gold is lying idle with households and institutions in India. The annual imports amount to around 8.5 lakh to 10 lakh kilograms valued at around Rs 230 crores to 300 crores.


“The Gold monetisation scheme will benefit the Indian gems and jewellery sector which is a major contributor to India’s exports. In 2014-15, gems and jewellery constituted 12 percent of India’s total exports and the value of gold items alone was more than Rs 86,358 crores,” an official note said.

“The risk of the gold price changes will be borne by the Gold Reserve Fund that is being created. The benefit to the government is in terms of the reduction in the cost of borrowing, which will be transferred to the Gold Reserve Fund,” the note added.

According to this scheme, any person with a minimum of 30 grams of gold, in the form of bullion or jewellery, can go to any of the 331 designated centres to test his gold and deposit it. A certificate will be issued, with which, an interest bearing account akin to a fixed deposit scheme can be opened.

With the certificate, redemption can be done in cash or gold—but not in the originally deposited jewellery form– in case of short-term deposit, and only in cash for medium and long term deposits.

The gold so collected will be sent to refiners. A parallel gold loan scheme will operate, wherein a jeweller can get the metal on loan for a short period. The gold can also be used for auctions, issuing coins, and to shore up the central bank’s gold reserves. Tax exemption will come with it.

The sovereign gold bond scheme will be denominated in grams of gold and payable in rupees. A cap on bonds has been fixed at 500 grams per person per annum. The bonds will be in a dematerialised or paper form in quantities of 5, 10, 50, 100 grams and redemption will be made in rupee alone.

These bonds will be sold by post offices, banks, non-banking firms, upon commission.

(With inputs from IANS)