Prime Minister Narendra >Modi on Thursday launched three gold-related schemes , namely the Gold Monetisation Scheme, Sovereign Gold Bond Scheme and the Gold Coin and Bullion Scheme.
“India has no reason to be described as a poor country, as it has 20,000 tonnes of gold. The gold available with the country should be put to productive use, and these schemes show us the way to achieve this goal,” the Prime Minister said while launching the schemes.
Gold has often been a source of women's empowerment in Indian society, and these schemes will underscore that sense of empowerment, Mr Modi added.
The Gold Monetisation Scheme (GMS) will replace the existing Gold Deposit Scheme, 1999. However, the government has made clear that deposits outstanding under the Gold Deposit Scheme will be allowed to run till maturity unless the depositors prematurely withdraw them.
Under the GMS, resident Indians (classified as individuals, Hindu Undivided Families, Trusts including Sebi-registered Mutual Funds and Exchange Traded Funds) can deposit gold at collection and purity testing centres certified by the Bureau of Indian Standards.
The deposit certificates will be issued by banks in equivalence of 995 fineness of gold and the principal and interest of the deposit under the scheme will be denominated in gold. The terms of deposit range from short-term deposits (1-3 years), medium-term deposits (5-7 years) and long-term deposits (12-15 years).
Depositors will be allowed to prematurely withdraw their deposits subject to a minimum lock-in period and a penalty that is to be determined by each authorised bank. “The minimum deposit at any one time shall be raw gold (bars, coins, jewellery excluding stones and other metals) equivalent to 30 grams of gold of 995 fineness. There is no maximum limit for deposit under the scheme,” the government said in a notification.
“The designated banks may sell or lend the gold… for minting India Gold Coins and to jewellers, or sell it to other designated banks participating in GMS,” the notification added.
However, attracting interest in the scheme will not be easy, according to Mr CP Krishnan, Director, Geofin Comtrade. “In the Gold monetisation scheme, even though the interest part and tax benefits are the attracting points, overcoming the sentimental approach of the public towards their gold belongings is the key factor that determines the success of the scheme,” Mr Krishnan said.
Under the Sovereign Gold Bond Scheme, the Reserve Bank of India will issue Gold Bonds on behalf of the Government of India. The applications for the bonds will be accepted between November 5-20 and the bonds will be issued on November 26. The Bonds will be sold through banks and designated post offices as may be notified.
As with the GMS, the Gold Bonds will be sold only to “Indian entities including individuals, HUFs, trusts, Universities, charitable institutions”. They will be denominated in multiples of gram(s) of gold with a basic unit of 1 gram.
The Bonds will be for a tenor of eight years, with an exit option from the 5th year. Those buying the bonds will not be allowed to purchase less than two grams-worth of bonds and not more than 500 grams-worth per person per financial year.
Under the Gold Coin and Bullion Scheme, the government will issue gold coins, the first ever national gold coins, which will have the Ashok Chakra engraved on them. Initially, coins of 5 grams and 10 grams will be available, soon to be followed by a 20 gram bar.
The government will make available 15,000 coins of 5 gm, 20,000 coins of 10 gm and 3,750 gold bars. “The Indian Gold coin is unique in many aspects and will carry advanced anti-counterfeit features and tamper proof packaging that will aid easy re-cycling,” the government said.
These schemes are aimed at bringing the gold lying with citizens into the economy, and at reducing India’s dependence on gold imports.
“These policies are a step in the right direction and would allow for the >channelisation of the unutilised domestic gold reserves towards supporting the country’s economic growth. The past few years have witnessed an exponential increase in gold imports exerting tremendous pressure on our current account. With the schemes being rolled out we should be able to reduce our gold imports,” said Dr A Didar Singh, Secretary General, FICCI.
India imported Rs 2.1 lakh crore worth of gold in financial year 2014-15, according to CMIE, not counting jewellery. So far, Rs 1.12 lakh crore worth of gold has been imported between April-September 2016.