Monday, March 28, 2016
Overseas distribution has begun for the first gold coin to be produced by the Indian government for investors and collectors.
The newly-launched Indian gold coins are 999 fine 24 carat gold and come in five and ten gram options. There is also an Indian gold bar available, weighing 20 grams, as part of the initiative.
The coins are made from gold bullion collected through the Indian government’s Gold Deposit Scheme and Gold Monetisation Scheme. Both programmes are aiming to release gold held in households and temples, and reduce the country’s reliance on imports of the precious metal to meet domestic demand for bullion.
India is the world’s second largest gold importer after China, bringing around 1,000 tonnes of bullion into the country annually. However, the Indian authorities estimate that there are around 20,000 tonnes of gold held privately and by temples and it wants to mobilise these reserves to reduce the cost of importing the precious metal.
The Gold Monetisation Scheme is a key part of this. The project, launched last year, allows banks to collect gold deposits for 15 years to auction off or lend to jewellers. People who deposit their gold with participating banks will receive up to 2.5 per cent interest on the value each year.
The Indian government is also backing the creation of more gold recycling centres across the country, where people can bring their precious metal to be melted down and converted into other forms.
The new gold coins are utilising bullion collected by the banks and simultaneously meeting domestic demand for gold investments. They feature the Ashoka Chakra on one side and Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi, on the other.
The coins are being manufactured under the Make in India initiative and feature anti-counterfeiting safeguards. They are the only Indian coins to be hallmarked by the Bureau of Indian Standards.