Mumbai: The Siddhivinayak temple one of India’s richest shrines has decided to move 40kg of its gold reserves to the government-sponsored Gold Monetisation Scheme. This is likely to earn the temple nearly Rs 69 lakh in annual interest.
The temple’s gold pledge is the first big-ticket deposit under the Gold Monetisation Scheme and could spur more temple trusts of the likes of Tirumala and Shirdi to follow suit.
The scheme, one of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pet projects – has received rather poor response so far, receiving just 400 gram in deposits. According to some estimates, there is around 20,000 tonnes of gold worth over Rs 52,00,000 crore lying idle in the country.
The temple will soon send the gold to one of the government-controlled mints to be melted and converted into gold biscuits. It estimates that since the gold is mostly in the form of ornaments donated by devotees, the pure yield after melting it will shrink to around 30 kg. At Rs 25,000 per 10 gm that will be worth Rs 7.5 crore. The annual interest of Rs 69 lakh mentioned earlier in this report that the temple is likely to earn is calculated as per the upper end of the 2 to 2.5 per cent interest being offered under the scheme.
The Siddhivinayak temple’s current gold reserves stand at a staggering 165 kg. It already has 10 kg of this deposited with the State Bank of India at an annual interest of 1 per cent. It is also mandatory for the trust to auction some of the donations it receives from the devotees and this includes gold ornaments.
Sanjeev Patil, chief executive officer of the temple trust, said: “In principle it has been agreed by the trust members to apply with the state government for getting approvals to melt the 40 kg gold in government mint.” He said the interest earned from the gold deposits will be used to fund medical aide facilities for economically backward patients.
Moreshwar Bagade, the temple trust’s finance and account officer, said the trust’s gold deposit at the State Bank of India earns it Rs 1.9 lakh interest annually. The new scheme is obviously more lucrative and another official of the trust said that more deposits could be moved to Gold Monetisation Scheme if it helps the temple earn better returns that can then be pumped into its social welfare projects.