The Centre managed to raise just Rs 1,400 crore through the sovereign gold bonds or only 9% of the target of Rs 15,000 crore in the current fiscal year, sources said.
The third and final tranche of the bonds fetched about Rs 400 crore in March 8-14 as against Rs 1,050 crore in second tranche in January and Rs 246 crore in November.
Even though the performance of the bond scheme was weak, it was even weaker for the gold monetisation scheme, both launched simultaneously to curb gold imports. Till March 15, sovereign gold bonds equivalent to a little over 5 tonne of gold were sold to investors while the mobilisation of gold was less than 2 tonne under the gold monetisation scheme (GMS).
“Both the schemes will be streamlined after taking into the performance in the pilot period. There may be some changes, especially, in the GMS,” one official said.
The finance ministry has convened a meeting on Friday to discuss how to make the GMS more attractive. The meeting, to be chaired by economic affairs secretary Shaktikanta Das, is expected to be attended by financial services secretary and representatives of the commerce ministry, the Reserve Bank of India, the World Gold Council, the Indian Banks Association and leading banks like SBI and ICICI Bank. Gold refiners are also expected to attend. The ministry had made some changes to the GMS, aimed at channelising household and temple gold, in January.
On gold bond scheme, aimed at weaning away investors from holding physical gold, officials said the response to the third tranche was probably weak due to cash shortages with people as it was fiscal year-end. The Centre has set a target of raising Rs 10,000 crore through sovereign gold bonds in 2016-17, as part of its market borrowing programme.