Mumbai: In an effort to make the Gold Monetisation Scheme more customer-friendly, the Reserve Bank of India has said depositors will be able to withdraw medium-term (5-7 year) and long-term government deposits (12-15 years) prematurely after the minimum lock-in period, though with a penalty.
The RBI on Thursday made a few amendments to its Master Direction on the scheme.
The modifications, it said, have been made in consultation with the government to make the scheme “more customer-friendly”.
The rate of interest on the deposits will be decided by government and notified by the RBI from time to time.
The current rate of interest as notified by the government on medium-term deposit is 2.25 per cent per annum and on long term deposit is 2.50 per cent per annum.
“The depositors will be able to withdraw medium term and long term government deposits pre-maturely after the minimum lock-in period of three years in the case of medium term deposits and after five years in the case of long term deposits,” it said.
However, there will be penalty in the “form of lower rate of interest for premature withdrawals” depending upon the actual period for which the deposit has run.
Further in the case of large tenders of gold, the RBI said the metal can be deposited directly with refiners wherever they have the assaying capacity.
“This will reduce the time lag between the time the raw gold is deposited and it starts bearing interest,” the RBI said.
The RBI also clarified that government will pay the participating banks a total commission of 2.5 per cent (1.5 per cent handling charges and 1 per cent commission) in the first year.
The scheme will be reviewed regularly based on feedback so as to address any implementation issue and to make it more customer-friendly.
Last week, Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das had said that more than 500 kg of gold had been already mobilised under the Gold Monetisation Scheme and the scheme was picking up.
Under the Gold Monetisation Scheme (GMS), 2015, banks will collect gold for up to 15 years to auction them off or lend to jewellers from time to time.
In November last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had launched a scheme to channelise gold worth over Rs 52 lakh crore lying with households into the banking system and floated paper bonds to curb its imports that have made India the largest buyer of gold in the world.
India imports a staggering 1,000 tonnes of gold every year, draining out foreign exchange and putting pressure on the fiscal deficit. An estimated 20,000 tonnes of gold worth over Rs 52 lakh crore is lying with households and temples.
The RBI further said the principal and interest on short-term bank deposit (STBD) would be denominated in gold.
In the case of medium- and long-term government deposit (MLTGD), the principal will be denominated in gold.
“However, the interest on MLTGD shall be calculated in Indian Rupees with reference to the value of gold at the time of the deposit,” the RBI said in its amended circular.
Resident Indians (Individuals, HUFs, Proprietorship & Partnership firms, Trusts including Mutual Funds/Exchange Traded Funds registered under SEBI (Mutual Fund) Regulations and Companies) can make deposits under the Gold Monetisation Scheme.
Joint deposits of two or more eligible depositors are also allowed under the scheme and the deposit in such case would be credited to the joint deposit account opened in the name of such depositors.
The existing rules regarding joint operation of bank deposit accounts including nominations would apply to these gold deposits.
All deposits under the scheme would be made at the Collection and Purity Testing Centre (CPTC).
“Provided that at their discretion, banks may accept the deposit of gold at the designated branches, especially from the larger depositors.”
“….banks may, at their discretion, also allow the depositors to deposit their gold directly with the refiners that have facilities to carry out final assaying and to issue the deposit receipts of the standard gold of 995 fineness to the depositor,” the RBI circular added.
The government will notify the list of BIS certified CPTC/refiners under the Scheme and would be communicated to the banks through Indian Banks’ Association (IBA).