press trust of india
MUMBAI, 6 JUNE: Worried over surge in gold imports, Union finance minister P Chidambaram today said the RBI has already advised banks against selling gold coins, and banks on their part should dissuade customers from buying the metal.
The finance minister’s caution comes a day after the government raised import duty on gold to eight per cent from six per cent.
This was in the backdrop of average monthly gold import more than doubling to 152 tons in the first two months of the current fiscal, putting further pressure on the current account deficit (CAD).
On the price front, Mr Chidambaram hoped that the forthcoming rabi crop would ease pressure on food inflation.
He also urged banks to pass on the benefits of RBI rate cut to retail and commercial borrowers to help boost growth.
“I think the RBI has advised banks they should not sell gold coins … Banks have a role to play in dampening the enthusiasm for gold. I would urge all banks to advise their branches that they should not encourage their customers to invest in or buy gold,” Mr Chidambaram said while addressing the annual general meeting of the Indian Banks’ Association (IBA).
Meanwhile, Punjab National Bank’s CMD, Mr KR Kamath was today re-elected  Indian Banks’ Association chairman for 2013-14.
Large projects
A committee headed by Mr Anil Swarup was today appointed to restart 215 large projects worth over Rs 7 lakh crore that have been stalled for various reasons, finance minister P Chidambaram said today. The panel will look at ways to get the projects off the ground at the earliest, he told the 66th AGM of IBA, the umbrella body of the banking industry.
“After extensive discussions today, the Prime Minister has approved the appointment of a very senior officer to the Cabinet Secretariat, Mr Anil Swarup, to track these 215 stalled projects,” he said.  
“I hope with this panel, which is likely to be constituted in a couple of days, we will be able to get these projects worth Rs 7 trillion identified and get started. Once these projects get started, we will see the results of them on investment in the remaining three quarters of this fiscal,” he added.