The government will step up the gold testing and refining network for implementing the gold monetisation scheme, following a lukewarm response so far to the scheme launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi earlier this month.
Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council’s (GJEPC) northern region chairman Anil Sankhwal, who was among the industry executives who met finance ministry officials in New Delhi, said only 400 grams have been deposited so far under the scheme. Finance ministry sources said that the government would ensure that more gold purity testing centres and refineries are set up. The idea is to increase the number of refineries from four to 20 and testing centres from 29 to to 55 by December.
“There are 13,000 Bureau of Indian Standards-licensed jewellers in the country. They would be asked to give testing facilities for the scheme. Accreditation from NABL (National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories), the agency that certifies the technical competence of a laboratory, will be mandatory for refineries,” said an official, who asked not to be named.
According to official estimates, around 20,000 tonne of gold worth over R52 lakh crore is lying idle with households and temples in the country.
Apart from gems and jewellery industry, the meeting was also attended by representatives from the Reserve Bank, Bureau of Indian Standards, MMTC and private banks.
Sankhwal said economic affairs secretary Shaktikanta Das has asked BIS to fasten the process of registration of jewellers as collection agents and issue licences within 15 days.Under the scheme, banks were authorised to collect gold for up to 15 years to auction them off or lend to jewellers from time to time. Depositors will earn up to 2.5% interest a year, a rate lower than bank deposits.