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New Act dims gold glitter

Asmita Agarwal, wanting to buy jewellery for her daughter’s wedding, was investing Rs 10,000 every month in a gold scheme offered by a leading Ranchi jeweller. But now, as her store winded up its offer, the doting mom found all she was entitled to was a cheque of Rs 70,000, her investment sans interest in the past seven months.

Asmita, who had enrolled in the scheme with the hope that she would pay Rs 1.1 lakh in 11 months and get Rs 10,000 in the 12th month from her jeweller to buy gold worth Rs 1.2 lakh, is feeling short-changed. But, her jewellery store, which is also a private limited company, can’t help. It falls under the purview of The Companies Act, 2013, which came into effect from April 2014.

With its enforcement, gold schemes are defined as public deposits. According to the new Act, companies that take deposits must limit their returns to 12 per cent per annum. The Act also restricts companies in gold trade from collecting deposits of over 25 per cent of their own net worth.

So, Asmita’s jeweller politely handed her over the cheque of Rs 70,000. “Had I known, I’d have invested in a savings scheme,” she rued.

Kadru resident Daisy Sinha (52) said: “I opted for a monthly plan of Rs 5,000. I invested for nine months or Rs 45,000. I’d have had to pay for two months more to buy gold worth Rs 60,000, because the company would have paid Rs 5,000 in the last month. But now, I got a cheque of Rs 45,000.”

Her daughter’s marriage in November, Daisy is upset yet thankful she got back her principal without problems. “I lost out on the gold and interest but I am glad the company promptly repaid me my cash.”

Tanishq, a nationally reputable corporate jeweller, wrapped up its Golden Harvest scheme a month ago. Swaroop, showroom manager of the branch on Main Road, said it was a nationwide development. “We have been telling our customers of this regularly through ads,” he said.

“We have closed our gold schemes and repaid our customers,” Asish Arya, owner of Navaratna Jewellers, a local player, said.

Some stores are indecisive. Praveer of Tulsyan Jewellers said they were in the process of understanding the Act. “If we stop our scheme, existing customers will land in difficulty. But, we are not involving new customers.”

But, non-corporate jewellers, who run shops as sole proprietorships or partnership firms, are outside the Act’s purview. Jeweller Suman Paul said their one-year installment plan was running strong.

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