Following a tardy progress in the most ambitious Gold Monetisation Scheme since its launch on November 5 last year by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Finance Ministry has called another meeting of all stakeholders on March 18 to discuss why the scheme is not gaining momentum.
Till February, a little over 1 tonne of gold was mobilised under the scheme compared to nearly 4 tonne of sale of sovereign gold bonds in first two tranches while third tranche is still open.
Interestingly at a time when jewellers are on a strike opposing imposition of excise duty in the Union Budget, government has preferred not to invite all trade bodies. Hence only Indian Bullion and Jewellers Association (IBJA) has been called for meeting while Gems and Jewellery Foundation has not been invited. From refiners' side, many representatives have been asked to attend.
Secretary Economic Affairs Shaktikanta Das will chair the meeting while Secretary Financial Services, other government and RBI officials, official from Commerce Ministry, Indian Banks Association and chairpersons of leading banks active in gold scheme including Arundhati Bhattacharya, Chanda Kocher among other banks have also been asked to be part of the meeting.
Along with them president of hallmarking centres association and Bureau of Indian Standards will also be there. Under the scheme, banks, refineries and hallmarking centres which would be working as collection and purity testing centres have to sign tripartite agreement for the scheme. This has been the biggest issue because of which the scheme is not taking off as such agreements are not getting signed and the issues raised by all stakeholders are raising problems which are not easy to solve.
From commodity derivatives side, NCDEX CEO will be part of the meeting as it has also proposed how its platform can be used for mobilising idle gold.
IBJA has also proposed a scheme where jewellers can act as a collection and purity testing centers and mobilise idle gold which can be used productively. IBJA had proposed to open 1000 such centeres across country. These schemes would also be discussed.
Jewellers to continue their stir
Jewellers are on an indefinite strike and today in Mumbai they took out a huge rally attended by 20,000 jewellers and artisans opposing 1% excise on jewellery imposed in budget and asked for its removal. IBJA has decided to hold such rallies across country, said its press note.
Next rally is being held at Pune where, accordig to IBJA, one lakh jewellers are expected to attend. IBJA statement also said that in 9 days of strike Rs 15,000 crore worth business has been lost. Mumbai wholesale gold jewellers association has also participated in the rally.