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Government calls meet to review gold monetisation scheme

By BS Reporter
March 10, 2016 13:14 IST
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Gold bars

 

The bullion trade body, the Indian Bullion and Jewellers Association has been called for the meeting; the All India Gems and Jewellery Foundation has not.

The Union finance ministry has called another meeting to discuss why the ambitious Gold Monetisation Scheme is getting so little response from citizens.

Officially launched by the prime minister on November 5, 2015, a little over a tonne of of gold has been mobilised so far.

In comparison, the invitation to invest in sovereign gold bonds got nearly four tonnes in the first two tranches, while the third one is still open.

The meet, scheduled for March 18, comes when the jewellery trade is on strike to oppose the imposition of excise duty in the Union Budget.

The bullion trade body, the Indian Bullion and Jewellers Association has been called for the meeting; the All India Gems and Jewellery Foundation has not.

From the refiners’ side, many representatives have been asked to attend.

Shaktikanta Das, secretary, economic affairs, will chair the meeting. The secretary, financial services, others from the government and the Reserve Bank, the Indian Banks Association and heads of leading banks active in the GMS (including Arundhati Bhattacharya of State Bank of India and Chanda Kochhar of ICICI) have been asked.

Heads of the hallmarking centres association and the Bureau of Indian Standards will also be there.

The scheme calls for banks, refineries and hallmarking centres to work together.

Hallmark centres are to be collection and purity testing centres.

However, agreement sin this regard are not getting signed and the issues raised by various stakeholders are proving not easy to solve.

The chief executive of National Commodity and Derivatives Exchange is to also come for the meeting; the bourse had earlier proposed how its platform could be used for mobilising idle gold.

Ibja had proposed a scheme whereby jewellers act as collection and purity testing centres, suggesting 1,000 such be so recognised across the country.

At present, however, jewellers are on indefinite strike.

On Wednesday, they had a big rally in Mumbai on the Budget demand, attended by artisans, too.

Ibja says it will be having such rallies across the country, with the next one at Pune.

Where, it says, 100,000 jewellers are expected to attend.

Image Gold bars. Photograph: Ajay Verma/Reuters

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BS Reporter in Mumbai
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