What is the Sovereign Gold Bond Scheme?
The government of India recently launched a Sovereign Gold Scheme to provide an alternate option when it comes to owning gold. This scheme aims to reduce the demand for physical gold, thereby keeping a tab on gold imports and utilizing resources effectively. With the Reserve Bank of India issuing these gold bonds, it brings in transparency and trust, providing an avenue wherein people can own gold without having to worry about its storage or safety.
In essence, a Sovereign Gold Bond is a government issued security which represents a certain weight of gold. Owning a gold bond of a certain weight is akin to owning that quantity of gold, albeit in a different form.
How does operate?
Under the Sovereign Gold Bond Scheme, the Reserve Bank of India will issue the bonds on behalf of the Government of India. The bonds will be sold at post offices and banks and issued in denomination of gram. They will issue these bonds on payment of money. Later on, the bonds will be connected to the price of gold. Investors have to pay the bond price in cash. From one person, the Sovereign Gold Bond Scheme would accept a minimum investment of 2 gm gold and a maximum investment of 500 gm in a single fiscal year. The bonds will pay a yearly interest of 2.5% to investors. Interest would be paid semi-annually based on the initial value of investments issued for the year 2016-17.
Individuals who are keen to participate in the Sovereign Gold Bond Scheme need to satisfy the following simple eligibility criteria.
- Indian resident – This scheme is open only to Indian residents, with the Foreign Exchange Management Act of 1999 formulating the eligibility criteria.
- Individuals/groups – Individuals, associations, trusts, HUFs, etc. are all eligible to invest in this scheme, provided they are Indian residents. Under the scheme, one can jointly invest in bonds with other eligible members.
- Minors – This bond can be purchased by guardians or parents on behalf of minors.
Features and Benefits :-
Some of the unique features and benefits of this scheme are mentioned below.
- Gold denomination – These bonds will be issued in multiple weight denominations, starting from 1 gram onwards, providing flexibility in terms of purchasing gold which suits the needs of an individual.
- Format – One has an option to hold these bonds either in paper or demat form, whichever is convenient to an individual.
- Flexibility – Investments in this scheme are flexible, with one having an option to choose the amount he/she wishes to invest.
- Interest – Investments in this scheme are eligible to earn interest every year.
- Safety – There is no need for storage or safety of gold under this scheme, as the gold isn’t physically given to an investor immediately.
- Purity – Since it is backed by the government, one is assured of purity of gold when they invest in the scheme.
- Maturity – This scheme has a maturity period of 8 years.
- Gift/transfer – Investors can choose to gift or transfer these bonds to others, provided they meet the necessary eligibility criteria.
- Premature withdrawal – Premature encashment of these bonds is allowed after 5 years of issue.
- Loan collateral – Investors can use these bonds as collateral against loans.
- Application – The application process is simple and fast, with banks and post offices permitted to provide this service.
- Payment modes – One can opt to purchase these bonds through multiple payment modes, with cheques, cash, DDs or electronic transfer accepted.
- Nomination – This scheme has a provision for nomination, adhering to the rules of the land.
- Tradable – Investors can trade these bonds on stock exchanges, subject to notifications of the Reserve Bank of India.
Interest rate of Sovereign Gold Bond Scheme :-
The government has fixed an interest rate on this scheme, with all investors eligible to earn an interest on their investment. The current interest rate stands at 2.75% per annum, with this interest paid every six months. This interest rate can be changed by the government as per its policies.
Risk of Sovereign Gold Bonds :-
Gold, is traditionally a very safe investment, and typically the risk associated with Sovereign gold bonds is very low. However, given the fact that gold rates depend on market performance, any drop in gold rates could put the capital at risk, which would be the case even if one owned physical gold. Regardless of market rates, an investor should take solace in the fact that the amount of gold he purchased doesn’t change.
KYC Documents required :-
The following KYC documents are required to invest in Sovereign Gold Bonds:
- Proof of identity (Aadhaar card/PAN or TAN /Passport / Voter ID card)
- KYC process will be carried on by bond issuing banks, agents or post offices.
Limit of Investment :-
Sovereign Gold Bonds are issued in denominations of 1 gram of gold and multiples of it. The gold scheme accepts a minimum investment of 2 gm and a maximum investment of 500 gm form a single person in a financial year.