This refers to the report “RBI joins peers to buy gold insurance” (June 17). While it is comforting to note that the RBI is augmenting the gold component in India’s foreign exchange reserves, efforts to account and mainstream the country’s domestic gold stock are not moving fast. This should be done urgently as the measure will bring down the need to import gold which is a drain on our precious forex reserves.
According to media reports, recently the Guruvayur temple in Kerala decided to deposit 350 kg out of its gold stock with the State Bank of India; this deposit will earn 8.75 kg gold per annum as interest for the temple. Surprisingly, the gold will have to be transported all the way to Mumbai for refining and standardising to be accepted as deposit by the SBI. Earlier also, the temple had deposited gold with the bank. Other temples like Tirupati and Siddhivinayak (Mumbai) have also deposited part of their gold stocks with banks. One single deposit of Tirupati earns per annum interest equivalent to the value of 80 kg gold.
To make gold deposit schemes popular, measures like starting facilities for refining and certification of standards, building public trust in such schemes and incentives for accounting and mainstreaming gold stocks beyond a threshold level with institutions and individuals will be necessary.
M G Warrier, Mumbai
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