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Last Updated : Oct 30, 2019 06:49 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

Exclusive | Govt may float ‘amnesty’ scheme for unaccounted gold; set up gold board: Sources

The broad contours of the plan, to be announced shortly, are that individuals be allowed to disclose unaccounted gold beyond a certain threshold and pay taxes on the disclosed value

Moneycontrol Contributor @moneycontrolcom

Lakshman Roy

CNBC Awaaz

The Prime Minister’s Office and the Finance Ministry are giving finishing touches to a special scheme aimed at legalising unaccounted wealth in India’s most consumed asset – gold, three highly-placed government sources said.

The broad contours of the plan, to be announced shortly, are that individuals be allowed to disclose unaccounted gold beyond a certain threshold and pay taxes on the disclosed value.

Close

“This holding limit will be fixed under the scheme. Once the scheme is closed, heavy fines will be imposed on those holding unaccounted gold beyond the prescribed limit,” a source said.

The tax rate on gold holdings beyond a certain monetary value could not be ascertained immediately, but an official said it would be in line with other ‘amnesty’ schemes that were floated during 2014-16. A government approved valuer will certify the value of gold. Gold jewellery of married women below a certain amount will be exempted from this scheme, the source added.

The yellow metal and gold jewellery hold an emotional choke over Indians. The country imports over 900 tonne of precious metal each year, spending more than Rs 250,000 crore ($35 billion) annually. Most of this gold lies locked in safe deposit boxes, thus turning into an unproductive asset and wasting India’s foreign earnings.

Gold Board

The proposal was jointly prepared by the Department of Economic Affairs and the Department of Revenue, another source said. A ‘Gold Board’ will be set up with representatives from the government and private sector most likely this fiscal and will annually tweak proposals to keep the schemes attractive for buyers and develop gold holdings into a financial asset, the source added.

India’s temples and trusts hold enormous quantities of gold, running into thousands of tonne. The precious metal is offered to the deities. Temples are required by law to deposit such offerings in lockers with public sector banks and remain unproductive.

Along with the new plan, the existing Sovereign Gold Bond Scheme will be revamped to make it more attractive to buyers, the third source said, adding the decision to float the new gold plan was to be taken in the second week of October in a Cabinet meeting. But the proposal got deferred due to state elections in Maharashtra and Haryana.

The government’s Sovereign Bond Scheme allows individuals and Hindu Undivided Families (HUFs) to buy up to four kg of gold in demat form. Trusts are allowed to purchase 20 kg of gold. The scheme bears an annual coupon of 2.5 percent and is redeemed at the market value of gold on maturity. The seventh series of the scheme is to open between December 2 and December 6. The sixth series shut on October 25.

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First Published on Oct 30, 2019 11:48 am
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