Has the government finally succeeded in weaning Indians away from gold? It seems so, going by data released by the finance ministry to the Parliament recently.
While India imported over 1,078.35 tonnes in 2011-12, the imports dropped sharply (38%) to 661.71 tonnes in 2013-14. Imports have slipped further to 474.46 tonnes during the first seven months of the current financial year (April-October).
(Source: Parliament; *figures are provisional)
The government had hiked import duty on gold last year to check increasing current account deficit and sliding rupee. While some restrictions were eased in May, just before the previous UPA government's tenure ended, further curbs were lifted last month under the new regime.
And imports surged immediately in November to 151.58 tonnes (an increase of 38% from 109.55 tonnes in October) prompting government officials to comment on reviewing decisions to ease curbs.
The global gold reserve is estimated at 32,139.1 tonnes, according to this report of the World Gold Council. India is at the 11th position as per gold holding with reserves of 557.7 tonnes. United States tops the table with reserves of 8,133.5 tonnes followed by Germany (3,384.2). International Monetary Fund, the lender of last resort for most countries across the world, has only ¼ the reserves held by America at 2,814 tonnes.
(Source: World Gold Council)
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