New Delhi: Expressing concern over rising gold imports, Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma Monday advocated that import of the precious metal should be only for actual usage and not for trading purposes.
Sharma today met Finance Minister P Chidambaram and discussed the gold import situation, among other issues.
"Yes, I met the FM and discussed it. We have serious concerns. We cannot allow a situation where gold (imports) in the last two months have reached a stage where it is causing huge stress," Sharma said after the meeting.
Gold imports stood at 162 tonnes in May. Gold and silver imports during April, 2013 jumped by 138 percent to USD 7.5 billion, as against USD 3.1 billion in the year-ago period.
"There will be corrective (measures), banks have taken corrective measures. And I am going to review it. And we will ensure that only for actual users gold is imported not for trading purposes. Except gems and jewellery and the gold refinery..., I don't think it should be allowed for trading," Sharma said.
India's gold imports dropped by 5.7 percent to 215 tonnes in the January-March period of 2013, even as its demand rose by 27 percent to 256.5 tonnes, World Gold Council (WGC) said in its report last month.
However, WGC expects the country's gold import to touch a record level at 300-400 tonnes in April-June period.
Gold imports from India, the world's largest consumer, stood at 860 tonnes in 2012.
Meanwhile, the Finance Ministry today said the government could take more steps to reduce gold imports, which may include banning sale of the yellow metal by banks.
"More steps will have to be taken to reduce gold imports. Export import policy on gold will have to be reviewed. May consider banning gold coin sale by banks," Department of Economic Affairs Secretary Arvind Mayaram said.
First Published: Monday, June 3, 2013, 21:34