India's imports of gems and jewellery fell by 9 per cent to Rs 1,85,883 crore in 2013-14 on a sharp decline in shipments of gold bars and jewellery due to government curbs, the industry body said.
The country had imported gems and jewellery worth Rs 2,04,253 crore in the previous financial year, according to data released by the Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC).
There was a significant drop in import of gold bars and jewellery because of the restrictions although inward shipments of rough and polished diamonds remained firm.
As per the GJEPC data, import of gold bars fell 47 per cent to Rs 32,540 crore in 2013-14 from Rs 61,431 crore a year ago. Inward shipments of gold jewellery declined sharply to Rs 3,497 crore from Rs 25,037 crore in the review period.
Import of silver bars declined to Rs 222 crore in 2013-14 from Rs 377.71 crore in the previous year.
However, the import of rough diamonds increased 24 per cent to Rs 1,00,374 crore from Rs 80,992 crore in the previous financial year. Shipments of cut and polished diamonds rose 31 per cent to Rs 39,586 crore from Rs 30,200 crore, the GJEPC data showed.
Gold is the second-largest import item for India after petroleum. The government had taken several measures to curb gold shipments to address the high current account deficit.
The measures included raising import duty on the metal to 10 per cent and making it mandatory for traders to export 20 per cent of imported gold.
Besides gold bars and jewellery, the country imports diamonds, coloured gemstones, pearls, platinum and synthetic stones, among others.