All that shines
Apropos of the edit “Golden cures” (November 19), the steep fall in gold prices is an opportunity to rationalise India’s traditional enchantment with the yellow metal. Currently, the gold stock in India is estimated at 18,000 tonnes, valued at around $900 billion. The official gold held by RBI amounts to 570 tonnes, constituting 9.5% of forex reserves. Meekly surrendering to erratic price variations is foolish.We must mature with the times and recognise the value of gold as a resource and use it to contribute to the strength of the economy. Attempts are on going to securitise gold, i.e., buy gold against bonds issued by banks and create an active market for the gold bonds New instruments are also being proposed as substitutes to holding physical gold and must lead to the new perception of paper gold. As and when the rupee is made fully convertible, gold securities can become an important instrument to sell or buy against the dollar, to filter excess capital inflows or impact the external value of rupee by effective mopping up of dollar flows without burdening the government. A deep and liquid paper-gold market would have the collateral benefit of providing a wider array of investment opportunities for retail investors. Though, this is easier said than done in India. Witness the mad rush at the jewellers today, as prices drop. Perhaps a tax-free bond, KYC then becomes less diffident, would score more in popularity than KVP.
Bring godmen under the lens
This refers to the recent law and order situation involving Baba Rampal’s followers at the former’s ashram in Hisar. This baba should not have been granted bail in the first place. Of late, godmen are in the news for their misdeeds—murder or rape. Another well-known godman is in jail in Rajasthan, for rape charges. It is strange how these godmen amass crores of wealth and are able to influence lives of the people,who worship them. Business magazines have ignored the wealth of these self-proclaimed godmen. They are all over the world. We talk of black money amassed by businessmen,and citizens. Does anyone talk of black money generated by these godmen? These godmen have followers in all walks of life—politicians, businessmen and others in power and they manage to get tax exemptions. . Does the society really needs these godmen? It is high time that the people should be freed from these godmen, and they should be careful of them. The real God doesn’t need your money, he/she only wants you to do good deeds. Vested interests create an aura of godliness around these godmen, to make money. Ashrams run by these godmen should be brought under the purview of the RTI.
Deendayal M Lulla
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