Gold imports, which have a bearing on the current account deficit (CAD), plunged 57 per cent to USD 6.8 billion (around Rs 50,658 crore) during the first half of this fiscal amid a slump in demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic, showed data by the commerce ministry.
In the corresponding period a year ago, gold imports stood at USD 15.8 billion (about Rs 1,10,259 crore).
Similarly, silver imports during April-September 2020 too dipped 63.4 per cent to USD 733.57 million (about Rs 5,543 crore), the data showed.
The decline in gold and silver imports has helped in narrowing the country's trade deficit, difference between imports and exports, at USD 23.44 billion during April-September 2020-21 as against USD 88.92 billion in the year-ago period.
India is the largest importer of gold, which mainly caters to demand of the jewellery industry. In volume terms, the country imports 800-900 tonnes of gold annually. Gems and jewellery exports declined by about 55 per cent to USD 8.7 billion in April-September 2020 amid the pandemic.