Gold imports at $42 billion during Apr-Jan

Gold imports at $42 billion during Apr-Jan New Delhi: The government on Friday said gold imports have increased in recent years and were valued at USD 42 billion in the April-January period of the current fiscal.

For 2011-12 they had reached USD 56.3 billion, Minister of State for Finance Namo Narain Meena said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha.

"India's gold imports have increased in recent years reflecting the increasing size of domestic gold market," Meena said.

Gold imports in 2010-11 were pegged at USD 40.5 billion, while in 2009-10 they amounted to USD 28.6 billion.

According to a report of the working group of Reserve Bank, gold is imported in India mainly through the designated banks and MMTC.

During 2011-12, gold imports through designated banks were estimated to be 603 tonne, or 56 percent of total gold imports.

In a separate reply, Meena said India's total external debt at the end of September is estimated at USD 365 billion.

High gold imports are putting pressure on the country's Current Account Deficit (CAD), which touched a peak of 5.4 percent of the GDP in the July-September quarter.

The government has taken a number of steps to check import of the precious metal by hiking duty and also linking gold deposit schemes of banks with Exchange Traded Funds of mutual funds.