India's gold imports are likely to rise to 35-40 tonnes in the current month as compared to 26 tonnes in the corresponding period last year, according to gold and silver refiner MMTC Pamp. "The country has already imported 23.2 tonnes of gold in the first fortnight of this month. Total shipments at the end of the month could reach 35-40 tonnes," a senior official at MMTC Pamp told PTI.
The RBI has been easing import curbs on gold since November 2014. Also, on February 18, the central bank lifted ban on import of gold coins and medallions and allowed banks to lend gold on loan to jewellers. Ahead of the Budget, the industry is expecting a cut in import duty from the existing 10 per cent. India, the world's largest consumer of gold, imports around 800-900 tonnes of gold annually.