Aimed at curbing demand for physical gold, the government today said banks will launch the second tranche of the sovereign gold bond scheme on January 18.
After a moderate first tranche, the second tranche of sovereign gold bond scheme, aimed at reducing demand for physical gold, will open for five days next week even as the other monetisation scheme netted in 500 kg of idle household and temple gold into government fold.
The Finance Ministry today said the gold bond scheme will be available for public subscription from January 18-22.
The first tranche of the scheme, which was launched in November, had got a subscription for 915.95 kg gold amounting to Rs 246 crore.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley asked CMDs of banks “to make their best efforts to reach out to potential investors to invest in the second tranche of Sovereign Gold Bonds”.
During a video conferencing with the bank CMDs, Jaitley discussed their preparedness for the launch of the second tranche and said the government is “keen to expand the scheme in subsequent tranches as well”.
The Gold Bond scheme has an annual cap of 500 grams per person and such bonds will be issued for 5-7 years.
A Finance Ministry statement said the banks gave an assurance that they will do their best to activate their branch network to inform potential investors about the advantage of the bonds.
“To increase awareness among depositors, the government is continuing with the media campaign on AIR and FM radio, in print media and through mobile SMS campaign,” it added.
As for the Gold Monetisation Scheme, Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das tweeted: “More than 500 kg of gold already mobilised. Scheme picking up.”
“The government is committed to making both gold bond and monetisation scheme successful,” Das said.
The Gold Monetisation Scheme, which had not picked up initially, was fine-tuned to make it more attractive and convenient to encourage entities holding idle gold to participate in the scheme.
Under the monetisation scheme, launched on November 5, 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 2.50 per cent interest per annum, a rate lower than savings bank deposits.
In the case of the Gold Bond Scheme, the investors are given the option to buy bonds in denominations of 5 grams, 10 grams, 50 grams and 100 grams for a term of five years to seven years with a rate of interest to be calculated on the value of the metal at the time of investment.
RBI today notified the opening of the second tranche of the gold bond scheme on January 18.
As per the notification, applications for the bonds will be accepted by banks, post offices and the Stock Holding Corporation of India Ltd between January 18-22. These will be issued on February 8, 2016.
“This is an attractive opportunity for the investors,” Jaitley said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had on November 5 launched gold schemes to wean investors away from holding physical gold.
India imports about 1,000 tonnes of gold every year and the precious metal is the second-highest component of the imports bill after crude oil.
The scheme is aimed at reducing the demand for gold in physical form by encouraging people to buy the commodity in demat or the paper form.
During April-November this fiscal, gold imports have declined to USD 22.65 billion from USD 24.49 billion in the same period last year. In volume terms, the imports were 689 tonnes as against 628 tonnes in the same period last year.