"Well, we want to issue the guidelines (on gold monetisation scheme) as soon as possible. If you ask me time-frame realistically, I would say, I will be very happy if the guidelines will be issued by May but how much time it will take I don't know," Finance Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi told reporters here.
      
To curb gold imports and monetise large idle stocks of the precious metal, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in his Budget 2015-16 had proposed introducing a gold monetisation scheme, which will replace both the present gold deposit and gold metal loan Schemes.
     
"The new scheme will allow the depositors of gold to earn interest in their metal accounts and the jewellers to obtain loans in their metal account. Banks/other dealers would also be able to monetise this gold," Jaitley had said.
      
India is one of the largest consumers of gold in the world and imports as much as 800-1000 tonnes of gold each year.
    
Though stocks of gold in India are estimated to be over 20,000 tonnes, mostly this gold is neither traded, nor monetised, the Finance Minister had said.
     
The move would also help in containing trade deficit and current account deficit (CAD), the net difference between outflows and inflows of foreign currencies. It had peaked to 6.7 percent of GDP in the third quarter of 2012-13.
     
As per the Economic Survey, the CAD is expected to fall below 1 percent in the next fiscal on the back of easing of global commodity prices including petroleum products.
    
Gold imports in January has declined to 38 tonnes from 142 tonnes in April 2014. In 2012-13, the country had imported 845 tonnes.
    
Reduction in gold imports has brought down the trade deficit to USD 118.37 billion during April-January this fiscal.

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