In an effort to make the Gold Monetisation Scheme more customer-friendly, the RBI on Thursday said depositors will be able to withdraw medium-term (5-7 year) and long-term government deposits (12-15 years) pre-maturely after the minimum lock-in period, though with a penalty.
The Reserve Bank made a few amendments to its Master Direction on the Scheme.
The modifications, it said, have been made in consultation with the government to make the Scheme "more customer-friendly".
The rate of interest on the deposits will be decided by government and notified by the RBI from time to time.
The current rate of interest as notified by the government on medium term deposit is 2.25 per cent per annum and on long term deposit is 2.50 per cent per annum.
"The depositors will be able to withdraw medium term and long term government deposits pre-maturely after the minimum lock-in period of three years in the case of medium term deposits and after five years in the case of long term deposits," it said.
However, there will be penalty in the "form of lower rate of interest for premature withdrawals" depending upon the actual period for which the deposit has run.
Further in the case of large tenders of gold, the RBI said the metal can be deposited directly with refiners wherever they have the assaying capacity.
"This will reduce the time lag between the time the raw gold is deposited and it starts bearing interest," RBI said.
RBI also clarified that government will pay the participating banks a total commission of 2.5 per cent (1.5 per cent handling charges and 1 per cent commission) in the first year.
The Scheme will be reviewed regularly based on feedback so as to address any implementation issue and to make it more customer friendly.
Last week, Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das had said under the Gold Monetisation Scheme more than 500 kg of gold has already mobilised and the Scheme was picking up.
Under the Gold Monetisation Scheme (GMS), 2015, banks will collect gold for up to 15 years to auction them off or lend to jewellers from time to time.
In November last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had launched a scheme to channelise gold worth over Rs 52 lakh crore lying with households into the banking system and floated paper bonds to curb its imports that have made India the largest buyer of gold in the world.
India imports a staggering 1,000 tonnes of gold every year, draining out foreign exchange and putting pressure on the fiscal deficit. An estimated 20,000 tonnes of gold worth over Rs 52 lakh crore is lying with households and temples.