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India's Gold Stash Dwarfs Fort Knox Hoard and Modi Wants It

  • Government plans to mobilize idle stockpiles of 20,000 tons
  • Large imports should be discouraged, finance minister says
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There’s about 20,000 metric tons of gold stashed away in India’s temples and households -- more than four times the amount that’s held in Fort Knox in Kentucky -- and Narendra Modi wants to get his hands on it.

India’s prime minister on Thursday unveiled three state-backed plans to try to tap the stockpiles of the precious metal to trim physical demand and reduce imports by providing people with alternative avenues for investment. At an event in New Delhi, Modi announced the formal start of a gold-deposit plan, a sovereign-bond program linked to the metal’s price and introduction of locally minted coins, some bearing the face of Mahatma Gandhi.