Gold imports surged 19.5 per cent to reach USD 34.32 billion in 2014-15 due to declining prices and easing of restrictions by the Reserve Bank.
Imports of the metal were USD 28.7 billion the previous fiscal, 2013-14.
Increase in gold imports impacts the country’s trade deficit, which has reached USD 137 billion in 2014-15, and the current account deficit (CAD).
The imports almost doubled in March to USD 4.98 billion which pushed the trade deficit to a four-month high of USD 11.79 billion for the month, according to the Commerce Ministry data.
India is the largest importer of gold, which mainly caters to the demand of the jewellery industry.
The Reserve Bank and the government have maintained that the CAD level is comfortable, but the spike in gold imports may spark fresh worries.
It has narrowed to 1.7 per cent for the first nine months of the previous fiscal. According to the Reserve Bank data, in the April-December period of last fiscal, CAD stood at USD 31.1 billion or 2.3 percent of GDP.
On November 28, RBI had scrapped the controversial 80:20 scheme.
Under the programme, which was put in place in August 2013 to put a tight leash on gold inflows, at least 20 per cent of the imported gold had to be exported before bringing in new lots.