FinMin likely to issue 5th tranche of gold bonds next month

Seeking to contain physical gold demand, the government is likely to issue fifth tranche of sovereign gold bond (SGB) scheme next month.

The finance ministry said the aim of the sovereign gold bond scheme is to lower demand, including what is met via imports, for physical gold, and reduce the country's current account deficit in the process.(reuters)

Seeking to contain physical gold demand, the government is likely to issue fifth tranche of sovereign gold bond (SGB) scheme next month.

“We are working on some changes with a view to making it more attractive. The next tranche should be issued in September,” a senior Finance Ministry official said.

In the previous tranche, the government made some changes to make it more attractive and its positive result was visible in terms of mobilisation, the official added.

Last month, the government had realised Rs 919 crore through the fourth tranche — the highest so far.

The previous highest was Rs 746 crore, which was realised in the second tranche when the issue price was Rs 2,600 per gram of gold.

In the previous round, the issue price was fixed at Rs 3,119.

This time around, the amount was mobilised through over 1.95 lakh applications representing around 2.95 tonnes of gold.

In the Union Budget 2015-16, the SGB scheme was launched as an alternative to storing physical gold.

Launched in November 2015, the aim of SGB is to reduce demand, including through imports, for physical gold, and in process reduce India’s current account deficit (CAD).

Apart from the three tranches in 2015-16, the government in consultation with RBI launched the fourth one, which was open on July 18-22.

To improve attractiveness of the scheme, new features were introduced in the latest instalment, where the minimum subscription limit was brought down to 1 gm, from 2 gm.

The capital gains tax arising out of redemption stood exempted, in line with the Budget 2016-17 announcement, said the ministry. This exemption was extended to the other three tranches, too.

The product earns an interest rate of 2.75 per cent per annum, payable half yearly on initial investment.

The government allowed the applications to be routed online and the scheme was issued by way of demat or paper.

Market exchanges BSE and NSE were notified as additional receiving offices and trading of gold bonds was also operationalised.

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