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Gold Monetization Scheme (GMS), Discuss.

INTRODUCTION:
The Gold Monetization Scheme (GMS or Scheme) is a welcome step initiated by the Government of India to unlock the unused and idle gold lying in households and institutions and bring them into mainstream and release the capital locked in for use in the economy for its development.

OBJECTIVES:

  • To mobilize the gold held by households and institutions in the country.
  • To provide a fillip to the gems and jewellery sector in the country by making gold available as raw material on loan from the banks.
  • To be able to reduce reliance on import of gold over time to meet the domestic demand.

The gold mobilization scheme is likely to work according to the draft guidelines:
  1. The scheme is meant to mobilize gold held by domestic households and institutions. Gold collected through the scheme will be made available to jewellers for manufacturing of new jewellery and other items.
  2. The scheme will initially be launched at a few places because the government will have to first set-up infrastructure for facilitating easy and secure handling of gold.
  3. Gold collected from consumers will first be cleaned and measured at test centres; it would then be melted to test for purity. After the tests, consumers can either deposit the gold for a fee or take it back after paying a nominal fee.
  4. The minimum quantity of gold that a customer can bring is proposed to be set at 30 grams.
  5. Those willing to deposit the gold will be given a certificate mentioning the amount and purity of the deposited gold. Banks will open a 'Gold Savings Account' on the basis of such certificates.
  6. Consumers will be paid interest on their gold savings account after 30/60 days of account opening. The amount of interest rate to be given is proposed to be left to the banks to decide.
  7. Both principal and interest will be paid to the depositors of gold, will be 'valued' in gold. For example if a customer deposits 100 gms of gold and gets 1 per cent interest, then, on maturity he has a credit of 101 gms.
  8. The customer will have the option of redemption either in cash or in gold, which will have to be exercised in the beginning itself (that is, at the time of making the deposit).
  9. The tenure of the deposit will be minimum 1 year and in multiples of one year. Like a fixed deposit, breaking of locking period will be allowed.
  10. Gold savings account will be exempt from capital gains tax, wealth tax and income tax.
According to the government, gold deposit accounts will utilise the 20,000 tonnes available within the country and help in cutting down the 800-1,000 tonnes of gold the country ships every year. Among the regulatory issues for banks, it said some certainty on use the gold deposits as part of their cash reserve ratio (CRR) and statutory liquidity ratio (SLR) requirements would be helpful. Irrespective of the difficulties, it underscored that the scheme holds great benefits on the macro front, saying, it can lower gold imports by bringing into circulation domestically-held idle gold, thus helping the external balances. Additionally, the easy availability of the precious metal can reduce costs for jewellers and increase the exports. Seeking to mobilise idle gold worth up to Rs 60 lakh crore held by households and institutions, the government proposed a new scheme offering tax-free interest on depositing the yellow metal with banks. The draft of gold monetisation scheme also provides for incentives to the banks. Individuals and institutions can deposit as low as 30 gms of gold, while the interest earned on it would be exempt from income tax as well as capital gains tax. CONCLUSION: The government can partly address the problem to a certain extent by making invoices mandatory only for gold brought in the form of bars or coins and not necessarily for household ornaments. The banks can track the transaction with sufficient proofs on address and identity. In case, the quantity exceeds a particular limit, even on ornaments, questions can be raised. Unless the government structures the GMS carefully, the fate of the scheme cannot be far different from that of its older version.

CONCLUSION:
The government can partly address the problem to a certain extent by making invoices mandatory only for gold brought in the form of bars or coins and not necessarily for household ornaments. The banks can track the transaction with sufficient proofs on address and identity. In case, the quantity exceeds a particular limit, even on ornaments, questions can be raised.
Unless the government structures the GMS carefully, the fate of the scheme cannot be far different from that of its older version.

Laxmi Prasad