"There have been some news stories in the media in the past couple of days about the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) discussing or considering options of converting idle gold, including that available with temple trusts, into bullion," an email from an RBI spokeswoman read, adding, "The Reserve Bank clarifies that no such proposal is under its consideration at this juncture."
According to media reports, RBI was looking into the option of requesting rich temple trusts such as Tirupati and Shirdi, which have tonnes of gold in their treasuries, to monetise it and reduce pressure on gold imports, the current account and the rupee.
RBI's email however puts such speculations to rest for now. In the past few months, the central bank has taken a number of steps to contain gold imports. RBI asked banks to import the yellow metal strictly on consignment basis. It also said gold should be bought on a 100 per cent cash margin. On the other hand, the government has steadily increased the import duty on gold, to 10 per cent from two per cent.