Prithviraj Chavan Suggests Government Should Borrow Gold From Religious Trust

The suggestion stirred the controversy as several religious organisation and temple trust strongly oppose the idea


MUMBAI| Former Chief Minister of Maharashtra Prithviraj Chavan advice government should borrow gold lying with the religious trusts in the country in the wake of financial crunch in an emergency. The suggestion stirred the controversy as several religious organisation and temple trust strongly oppose the idea. Many blamed Chavan for targeting only Hindu trusts.

Former CM of Maharashtra tweeted, “Government must immediately appropriate all the gold lying with all the religious trusts in the country, worth at least $1trillion, according to the #WorldGoldCouncil. The gold can be borrowed through gold bonds at a low-interest rate. This is an emergency”. The gold could be borrowed at the interest rate of 1-2% in the form of a loan. However, some did not like the thought.

Tushar Bhosale, joint convenor of Maharashtra BJP’s Spiritual Front said, “If the Congress is so concerned about the financial condition of the country, it should first bring out the money usurped by the Congress leaders from scams during their rule”.

Chavan said his idea is no new as BJP previously had actually introduced the gold monetisation schemes. Chavan said, “The Vajpayee government in 1999 introduced the gold deposit scheme (GDS) as an aftermath of economic sanctions after May 1998 Pokharan Atomic tests. The scheme was targeted at individuals and institutions asking them to deposit gold in the banks. On November 5, 2015, PM Narendra Modi’s government modified the GDS and introduced the gold monetisation scheme which still exists. According to a finance ministry report, 20,547 kg of gold has been mobilised by 2,952 entities between November 2015 and January 2020 under the scheme. Two temples from Maharashtra have deposited their gold with 11 banks”. Both the schemes were introduced by the BJP led government Chavan said.

Hindu Janjagruti Samiti, a right-wing organisation, alleged it is a deceptive appeal to usurp gold from temples. “The idea commensurates with Congress’s anti-Hindu policies over the past 70 years. The party looted ₹4.82 lakh crore in the form of scams. Congress leaders should return the public money. The churches in the country own most of the land after the defence and railway ministries. Wakf Board owns nearly 7 lakh acres of land. Will the Congress leaders demand to take over their lands,” Ramesh Shinde, national spokesperson of Samiti said.

Clearing the air claiming Chavan targeted on Hindu trust the former CM of Maharashtra said, “Anti-social elements twisted it out of context&tried to project that I had targetted a particular religion. I’m going to take up with appropriate legal authorities. My suggestion was nothing new. Whenever there’s a national economic crisis, PMs resorted to collect gold”.

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