Indian government won't touch god's gold – for now
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) will go to far lengths to curb the country's gold imports: Raising import duties, banning credit-card purchased gold, restricting imports and even begging.
But one thing the RBI won't do is take god's gold.
Earlier this week the Bank infuriated some religious communities after sending letters to temples asking them to let the government know exactly how much bullion is in their possession.
The inquiry sparked fears that the government would try to restrict gold imports by buying gold from domestic sources, namely temples.
Indian temples have vast amounts of gold – 35,000 tonnes according to India's NDTV. One temple, Sree Padmanabhaswami, allegedly holds 1.3 trillion Rupees worth of gold jewellery.
According to DNA, major temples will not take any action before speaking with government officials.
On Wednesday, NDTV reported that minister JD Seelam said god's gold is only a "last resort."
"I don't think we will need to do that," he told the news outlet, while reminding the public that Finance Minister P. Chidambaram has pleaded with Indians to curb gold purchases over the next year while the country tries to reduce its current account deficit (CAD).
Gold and oil are India's largest imports and high levels of purchasing have eaten away at the state's Forex reserves and devalued the Rupee to record levels this year.
Seelam cautioned that with the upcoming festival of Dhanteras – an occasion when Indians typically buy gold – people should be extra cautious and resist the temptation.
"They already have sufficient gold," he told NDTV. "They can use it. If everybody uses their own gold, it is more than sufficient."