The Indian Finance Minister P. Chidambaram on Tuesday clarified that the government has no intentions what so ever to lift the ban on imports of gold coins and gold medallions during the festival season ahead. The Minister was referring to some media reports that some Indian jewellers were planning to resume sale of gold coins and medallions on the auspicious occasion of Dhanetras and Diwali. At the same time, he urged the importing banks to be very strict on bullion imports into the country.
In July this year, the All India Gems and Jewellery Federation (GJF) had strictly instructed jewellers across the country to suspend sale of gold coins and medallions. The move was intended to support the government’s efforts to keep tight rein on the spiraling current account deficit (CAD).
Gold is one of the most sought after commodity for gifting purposes during Diwali. The gold coin demand is expected to spike up during the festive season. This had prompted some jewellers to resume sale of gold coins.
However, the country’s Finance Minister categorically stated that the import of gold coins and medallions is prohibited and nobody should indulge in such acts. He urged bullion banks not to violate any of the existing gold import norms.
According to Minister, the strict gold import regulations have paid off well. The gold and silver imports by the country have declined sharply by almost 80% to $0.8 billion during the month of September. Any relaxation of import regulations would have negative repercussions on country’s CAD status. Hence, ‘all have to meticulously follow the RBI and government guidelines on gold imports’.