Tamil Nadu floats tender for 1 lakh gold coins

Tamil Nadu floats tender for 1 lakh gold coins

Tamil Nadu floats tender for 1 lakh gold coins

It’s a gold rush of a different kind. The Tamil Nadu government has invited bids for supply of 1 lakh gold coins embossed with the state emblem to be disbursed under its five marriage assistance schemes.

Tamil Nadu is perhaps the only state to give away free gold to poor women as part of marriage assistance schemes implemented by the Social Welfare and Nutritious Meal Programme Department.

The Director of Social Welfare recently issued a tender seeking prospective dealers to supply one lakh gold coins, weighing 4 g (each 22 carat), in 32 districts of the state.

Going by the tender, the Kanyakumari, Madurai and Tiruchirappalli districts top the allocation with 5,000 gold coins each, followed by Salem (4,500) and Villupuram (4,200). The tender has not disclosed the sum involved in this multi-crore transaction, but has asked bidders to deposit a refundable Earnest Money Deposit of Rs 1.20 crore, giving ample indications of the sum involved.

The government has laid down a series of stipulations, including mandating the financial stability of the bidders, pegging them in the Rs 100-crore club. “The average annual turnover of the bidder/manufacturer/dealer shall be not less than Rs 100 crore per annum in the last two successive financial years,” it stipulated, adding that the supplier should have the capacity to supply at least 25,000 coins with BIS hallmark standards.

The government has made it clear that it would carry out random checks on the gold coins to ascertain purity, and warned of action in case of supply of substandard coins.

“Coins may be selected at random and subjected to testing for their purity and weight at any approved testing laboratory, if the Director of Social Welfare deems it necessary,” said the tender document.

“In case the quality is found to be deviating from the specifications, the supplier shall take back and replace the coins fulfilling the specifications at his cost or buy back the gold at a price paid for the gold or at the open market price (including the overhead charges) at the time of buyback, whichever is higher,” it added.

The coins, 20 mm in diameter, should be embossed with the state emblem (of the Srivilluputhur Temple tower), and on the other side, technical specifications like purity, weight and hallmarking details must be mentioned, besides an assigned secret code.

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