India, Seeking a Boost, Plans to Put Its ‘Idle Gold’ to Work
THE NEW YORK TIMES
By Ellen Barry
Millions of devotees in India and abroad offer prayers to Goddess Lakshmi at the Mahalakshmi temple.
INDIA---“For thousands of years, Hindu society has donated this gold to temples whose trusts have safeguarded it,” said Vyankatesh Abdeo, the organization’s all-India secretary. “Our wealth is in gold; the government’s evil eye is on this wealth. This is absolutely wrong, and we oppose this move. This wealth is God’s, not the government’s.” In his mission to build India’s economy into one that could someday rival China’s, Prime Minister Narendra Modi would like to mobilize the roughly 20,000 tons of gold thought to be in private hands, 2,500 tons of it in major Hindu temples. Economists call it “idle gold,” and Mr. Modi’s team would like to see it used for trade and investment. In May, the government is expected to introduce a plan to induce Indians to deposit gold in banks, offering fixed interest rates for a “metal account.” [link]