India's gold imports, which have a bearing on the current account deficit (CAD), plunged 81.22 per cent to $2.47 billion (about Rs 18,590 crore) during April-July period of 2020-21 due to a significant fall in demand in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic, according to data from the Commerce Ministry.
Imports of the yellow metal stood at $13.16 billion (about Rs 91,440 crore) in the corresponding period of 2019-20.
Similarly, silver imports during the first four months of the current financial year also dipped 56.5 per cent to USD 685.32 million (about Rs 5,185 crore).
The decline in gold and silver imports has helped in narrowing the country's trade deficit, difference between imports and exports, to USD 13.95 billion during April-July 2020-21 as against USD 59.4 billion in the year-ago period.
Gold imports have been recording a negative growth since December last year. The fall in March, April, May and June was to the tune of 62.6 per cent, 99.93 per cent, 98.4 per cent and 77.5 per cent, respectively.
However, imports grew marginally by 4.17 per cent to $1.78 billion in July as against $1.71 billion in the same month last year, the data showed.
India is the largest importer of gold, which mainly caters to demand of jewellery industry. In volume terms, the country imports 800-900 tonnes of gold annually.
Gems and jewellery exports declined by about 66.36 per cent to $4.17 billion in April-July 2020.
India recorded a current account surplus of $0.6 billion, or 0.1 per cent of GDP, for January-March quarter as against a deficit of $4.6 billion, or 0.7 per cent of GDP, in the year-ago period.