The Centre on Wednesday announced that India Post, country's postal services, would start selling 24-carat gold coins through its post offices in four States, including Delhi and Tamil Nadu.
The gold coins will be sold in over 100 post offices in Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Gujarat in the pilot phase, the Minister for Communications and Information Technology, A. Raja, said after launching the service.
"We have initiated the process to commercialise the post offices and increase their visibility. The proposal is to cover 102 post offices in the pilot phase and gradually extend it based on the response from the public for this novel venture," he said.
During the second phase, post offices will be selling gold coins with India Post logo, he added. India Post launched the new service on Wednesday in association with the World Gold Council and the Anil Ambani Group's financial services firm Reliance Money.
The coins will come in weights of 0.5 gram, one gram, five grams and eight grams at rates prevailing in the market for gold, Raja said. The gold coins will be packed in a sealed cover with the certification from Valcambi, Switzerland, India Post said.
The Reliance Money Director and Chief Executive Office, Sudip Bandyopadhyay, said, "We want to take the culture of structured investments in gold to the masses through India Post because it has the largest reach in the country.”
"Retailing gold through post offices is a ground-breaking initiative in the Indian investment sector and one of its kind in the world," the World Gold Council Managing Director, Ajay Mitra, said.
India Post sells university applications, Darjeeling Tea and Aloe Vera beauty products under Retail Post category.