Divine help is coming for gold monetisation scheme

G Naga Sridhar | | Updated on: Dec 06, 2021


Tirumala temple to take a decision after getting clarity on interest rates

The Centre’s gold monetisation scheme may soon find favour at the Balaji Temple in Tirupati.

The Tirumala Tirupati Deveasthanams (TTD) board will consider deployment of temple gold in the scheme, and is waiting for the rollout of final modalities. “We are open to the scheme. A final decision will be taken once the interest and other returns are finalised,” TTD Executive Officer D Samabasiva Rao told BusinessLine in an exclusive interaction here.

The world’s richest deity has huge deposits of gold and diamonds donated by devotees worldwide over several centuries. While TTD has never made the total estimated value of its entire riches public, observers place the temple’s gold assets alone at about 20 tonnes. In 2008, the TTD obtained the RBI’s permission to deposit the gold with banks. Subsequently, it deposited about 4.3 tonnes with SBI, Corporation Bank and Indian Bank. Further, it deposited another 1.2 tonnes of gold with SBI recently.

TTD gets an about 1 per cent return on these deposits, paid by banks in the form of refined gold.

This means the board can straight away pump over 5 tonnes of the yellow metal into the gold monetisation scheme.

Dealing with shares There has reportedly been a huge response to the demat account opened recently by the TTD to facilitate donation of shares by devotees. “The account, bearing the number 1601010000384828, is receiving an increasing number of shares from devotees everyday. A decision on how to liquidate these shares will be taken very soon,” said Rao.

However, the Devasthanam board is not interested in making a profit out of these shares. “Ours is a religious body and TTD will not trade in these shares. We will identify an entity to handle them,” he added.

The TTD is likely to specify a cut-off date for the sale of shares from the date of their receipt. They will then be sold irrespective of the scrip price that day.

Published on August 30, 2015
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