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Assocham’s 12th International Gold Economic Forum takes place in Delhi

There is a need to establish brand image of India as the Jeweller of the world, Minister of State, Ministry of Finance, Anurag Singh Thakur said at an Assocham event held in New Delhi today.

“I appreciate that the Gold industry realises what they need to do and their expectations from the government. Before you ‘ask’ government, you have set yourselves a ‘task’ of defining and identifying your issues towards contributing to the target of a USD 5 Trillion economy,” said Thakur while inaugurating Assocham’s 12th International Gold Economic Forum.

He also said that banks can engage with state endowment departments to encourage greater participation of religious institutions in Gold Monetization Scheme (GMS).

Noting that the announcement made in the Budget formally recognizes that gold is bought not just for jewellery but as an ‘asset’ too, Thakur said, “Banks must take forward the message of GMS as an effective instrument of recycling gold stocks held within the country with a view to reducing the import of gold.”

The Minister added, “We can encourage more branches of banks to accept gold deposits under the GMS and also to extend Gold Metal Loans. We have and will continue to support the Gold Industry.” Thakur also said that he along with the Union Finance Minister has travelled across India and have told the income tax officials, to respect the wealth creators of India. “Do not SUSPECT all, RESPECT honest tax payers and do not hassle them.”

He further said that at more than 24,000 tonnes, Indian households hold the largest stock of gold in the world. “The country currently has one of the highest saving rates in the world, estimated at around 30 per cent of total income. ‪GMS has huge potential and can achieve great success by effectively tapping into the domestically held gold by households and temple/trusts.”

B.K. Goenka, president, Assocham in his address said that development of gold as an organized sector can give rise to opportunities in skill development, employment generation, technological upgradation, exports and value addition.

Highlighting that various schemes for mobilization of idle gold holdings have been implemented by the Government and RBI in the past, but with little success, Mr Goenka said, “Attempts to mobilise gold under various schemes have not evoked the desired response. This calls for reviewing the rules to make them more investor friendly and cut down the transaction costs involved.”

The Assocham chief also said that in formulating a gold policy and import tariff regime, it would be very much desirable to keep in view Indian ground realities, where households have strong preference for the yellow metal due to both economic and non-economic factors.

“A positive policy framework for gold should consider macro-environment, value addition, financial markets, external sector (export, import and related policies), and protection of consumer interest, skill development and job creation,” added Goenka.

In his address at the Assocham’s conference, Somasundaram PR impressed upon the need for associations representing the gold industry to come together. “As an industry, we have to have a single voice, we have to understand that $35-40 billion industry has to create its own infrastructure.”

“Why don’t we come together and have a code of conduct?” he said while adding, “We have to start self-regulating, we have to build a single voice. We must have a list of asks from the government, but we should go with a single, unified voice saying, this is what we will do, this is our code of conduct, this will be our self-enforcement mechanism and then seek inputs from the government.”

Somasundaram further said, “It’s time for us to come together as an industry and see what we should do. Unless we do it ourselves, there is absolutely no point in going to the government with a list of demands.”

S.K. Jindal, chairman, Assocham National Council on Commodity Markets in his address said, “A multi-faceted industry like gold needs a holistic approach in policy formulation. Integrating gold with Hon’ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s broader economic vision of ‘Make in India,’ and $5 trillion economy is inevitable to achieve these goals.”

He also said, “What is most important is that government and industry should be on the same page, and their action plan should be common and uniform.”

Assocham’s secretary general, Deepak Sood in his address said, “With monetization of gold assets for economic growth, the industry promises to be a major contributor towards PM’s $5 trillion economy goal.”

Courtesy - AOJ

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