The government is mulling a gold exchange for transparent trading of the yellow metal and to reduce dependence on imports from overseas, said a top official on Tuesday.
"A gold exchange for transparent trading will facilitate jewellers to buy and sell the precious metal locally instead of depending on the international market," said Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das at a summit in Mumbai.
Inaugurating the third India International Bullion summit, organised by Indian Bullion & Jewellery Association (IBJA), he said such a transparent platform could be used by those who have surplus gold to sell it to those requiring it.
"A jeweller who needs gold temporarily can buy it locally instead of importing it," said Das.
On the gold monetisation scheme, launched on 6 November by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi along with two other gold schemes, Das admitted it was not easy to convince people to part with their jewellery, which had emotional value attached it.
"We need to change the mindset and understand the psyche of the people. We need to involve you (jewellers) to talk to traditional customers and bring them into the scheme," he said.
The other two are gold sovereign bond scheme and gold coin and bullion scheme to mobilise the precious metal lying within the country for re-use and curb its surging imports, which were resulting in huge outgo of foreign exchange and impacting the current account deficit.
The Bureau of Indian Standards has invited applications from 13,000 licensed jewellers to act as a collection and purity testing centres across the country.
When IBJA president Mohit Khamboj urged the Central government to set up a dedicated gold bank to boost the industry, Das said it was not feasible.
According to Commerce Additional Secretary J K Dadoo, a whopping 22,000 tonne of gold, valued at $1 trillion is lying across the country, with about 90% of it in temples and religious places.
Former SBI chairman O P Bhatt suggested that the maturity period for the gold bond scheme should be 10-15 years instead of 8-10 years to make it more attractive.