India misses a golden recycling opportunity

India: The ambitious plan to recycle thousands of tonnes of gold lying idle in temples and households across India has failed due to concerns over high costs and slight returns, Reuters has reported. This is described as a ‘blow’ to the Indian government, which had hoped to cut gold imports significantly.

Only 7 tonnes of gold out of the 24 000 tonnes estimated to be available was collected via the cash for gold recycling scheme that was launched ‘with much fanfare’ in November 2015 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Families that store as much as 80% of the idle gold have turned their back on the scheme, it is added. In fact, the four dozen government-approved centres that opened to test the gold’s purity are still waiting to process a single gram of household gold.

Government officials explained that India sought to stem the spending of billions of dollars on a ‘non-essential commodity’ that accounted for 27% of its trade deficit in the year to March, 2016.

India is currently the world’s second-biggest gold importer behind China; most of the 800 tonnes worth of gold purchased every year represent wedding gifts, religious donations and investments.

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