Declining prices of gold in the global market have pushed up imports of the yellow metal to over 120 tonnes in August, the highest so far in the fiscal.
Gold imports stood at 89 tonnes in July 2015. In August last year, the figure was 50 tonnes.
“There has been a steep rise in gold imports, and in August, it was over 120 tonnes, which is the highest in any month in the current fiscal,” an official told PTI.
The rise in imports, the official said, is mainly in anticipation of the upcoming festive season.
“We have to see the trend whether it is alarming or it is just a blip. It is after seeing the trend that we can tweak the import duty,” the official added.
Gold import duty stands at 10 per cent.
Global gold prices had declined sharply in July, stoking demand from countries like India and China.
Annually, India imports 1,000 tonnes of gold, making the yellow metal the highest constituent of India’s import bill after crude oil.
There is a huge demand for gold in the country as it is seen as an investment option and hedge against risks. It is estimated that over 20,000 tonnes of gold are lying idle in households and other institutions in India.
In order to wean people away from buying physical gold, the Cabinet last week approved twin schemes — gold monetisation and sovereign gold bonds.
The schemes are aimed at mobilising gold held by households and temples in the country and putting the same to productive use.
The schemes are likely to be operational in the next two months, closer to Diwali, when demand for gold is high.