India's imports of sensitive items, including grain and milk products, have gone up by 21.8 per cent to Rs 23,039 crore during the April-July period of the current financial year, from Rs 18,916 crore a year-ago.
Food grain import soared to Rs 111.7 crore and that of milk and dairy products to Rs 370.4 crore during the first four months of this financial year, from mere Rs 3.5 crore and Rs 87.3 crore, respectively, in the year-ago period.
Items such as food grain, automobiles, milk and beverages fall in the sensitive category and these imports are monitored by the government to see if there is any adverse impact on the domestic industry.
In the first four months of 2010-11, imports of items such as automobiles, alcoholic beverages and rubber, too, increased by 87.4 per cent, 85.2 per cent and 41.6 per cent, respectively.
According to the data, the increase in imports of fruits and vegetables was 10.8 per cent to Rs 2,178.3 crore. Edible oil imports, too, went up by 18.9 per cent to Rs 8,763.7 crore over the year-ago period.
However, imports of pulses, cotton and silk contracted by 10 per cent (Rs 2,485.2 crore) and 16.6 per cent (Rs 658.1 crore) during the period under review.
Food inflation was hovering at 16.24 per cent for the week ended September 25, mainly due to high prices of fruits, vegetables and milk.
Import of sensitive items amounted to 4.5 per cent of the country's total imports during the period, against 4.6 per cent in the previous year.
The gross import of all commodities during the current period was Rs 3.15 lakh crore, compared to Rs 2.56 lakh crore in the same period last year.
Imports of sensitive items from countries like the US, UK, Indonesia, China, Korea, Brazil, Argentina, Germany, Thailand and New Zealand have gone up, while those from Myanmar, Malaysia, Ukraine, Japan, Canada and Australia have shown a decline.