Mumbai: Senior Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan on Wednesday suggested the Centre can "appropriate" gold stock of religious trusts in the country, which he said would help generate at least Rs 76 lakh crore to tide over the Covid-19 crisis.
"Govt. must immediately appropriate all the gold lying with all the Religious Trusts in the country, worth at least $1 trillion, according to the #WorldGoldCouncil. The gold can be borrowed through gold bonds at a low interest rate. This is an emergency.PC," Chavan tweeted.
When contacted, the former chief minister said his idea was very simple. "Gold lying with religious trusts in the country is worth Rs 76 lakh crore or one trillion dollars. If it is borrowed from these trusts at a nominal interest rate, the money can be generously spent on lower middle and poor class to increase their spending capacity.
The World Gold Council (WGC) has estimated the cost of gold in the religious trusts in India at around one trillion dollars, he said. "The gold lying with these trusts is our own money and the current economic crisis is way more serious than a war-like situation. The gold can be borrowed at a low interest rate. This is an emergency," Chavan said.
He said this gold can be utilised for printing money as well as for raising funds from the open market. "The country is facing severe cash crunch and there is a little scope for raising funds from open markets as well," the former Union minister said.
Chavan's suggestion came a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a combined stimulus package worth Rs 20 lakh crore and stressed for self reliance to revive the economy which is under stress due to the COVID-19 crisis.