New Delhi: The government has so far collected 2.8 tonnes of gold under the Gold Monetisation Scheme (GMS), which has been in force for a little over six months, Parliament was informed on Tuesday.
"Gold Monetisation Scheme which was announced in the Union Budget 2015-16, was launched on November 5, 2015, and a total of 2.8 tonnes of gold have so far been deposited by 105 depositors under this scheme," Minister of State for Finance Jayant Sinha said in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha.
"Temples and trusts have so far deposited a total of 1,512 kilograms of gold under the scheme."
The scheme is intended to mobilise idle gold held by households and institutions of the country and facilitate its use for productive purposes, and in the long run, reduce the country's reliance on the import of gold.
The scheme, which did not pick up initially, was fine-tuned to make it more attractive and convenient to encourage entities holding idle gold to come on board.
Currently, there are 46 assaying and hallmarking centres that are qualified to act as collection and purity testing centres (CPTCs) for handling gold under GMS.
India imports about 1,000 tonnes of gold every year and the precious metal is the second highest component of the import bill after crude oil. An estimated 20,000 tonnes of gold are lying with households and temples.
Replying to a separate query, the minister said that till April 20, 2016, 21.61 crore accounts have been opened under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY), of which 9.62 crore accounts are Aadhaar-seeded.