According to bullion traders, India’s monthly gold imports are set to rise by as much as 50% from the current levels and premiums could also double ahead of this festive season next month. Additionally, gold sales are expected to rise by 15 to 20%.Currently, gold is being sold for around ₹27,000 per ten gram. It is expected that Indian gold buyers would help support global bullion prices which had dipped to eight-and-a-half month low of ₹1,216.01 (₹74,072) per 30 grams amid worries of hike in US interest rates. The festive demands are expected to push local gold prices. Prithiviraj Kothari, vice-president of the India Bullion & Jewellers’ Association expects the gold price to touch ₹28,500 per ten gram ahead of Hindu festivals like Dhanteras and Diwali.”Gold imports are expected to rise to about 70-75 tonnes per month in the coming months as against a monthly average of 50-60 tonnes,” Reuters quoted Prithviraj Kothari, vice-president of the India Bullion & Jewellers’ Association.After and during the Indian festive season, Indian gold premiums to the global benchmark are also expected to surge by ₹731 to ₹912 for 30 grams, from the current rate of ₹426 to ₹609 an ounce.Gold reached its highest at ₹35,074 per ten gram in August 2013, but then onwards the bullion prices have slipped steadily aided by weak prices overseas and a strengthening rupee.Deficit worries?Heavy imports raised the fiscal deficit during previous year that had put the rupee under pressure and slowed growth. Following this, UPA finance minister P. Chidambaram raised the import tax on gold for the third time in a year.However, in May 2014, RBI eased import restrictions on this commodity. The central bank permitted private agencies and banks to provide gold loans to the sector. But, the government has not lowered the import duty which is at 10%.India’s investment demand for gold slumped 67% on year in the June quarter, according to World Gold Council.But, Kothari opined that India’s deficit would not hurt because of gold demand during festive season as government’s restrictions on gold imports and lower international prices will prevent the deficit.
Arun Jaitley is all set to present the Union Budget for the financial year 2017-18 (Budget 2017) on Wednesday (February 1, 2017), the fourth by the Modi government after it came to power in May 2014. There are many sides to the 64-year-old finance minister, who is a lawyer by profession.Read: Union Budget Session 2017 Live Updates: post your questions to FM Arun Jaitley using #MyQuestionToFM on TwitterProbably one of the most social media savvy — he will be taking questions on Twitter under the hashtag #MyQuestionToFM — after Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre, he is prolific with his views on Facebook and Twitter, besides articulating the government’s views on policies that go beyond money and finance. A suave lawyer who joined the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the student wing of the RSS in the 1970s, Jaitley was active during the JP movement that saw the dethroning of the then prime minister Indira Gandhi after the Emergency years (1975-77). He can hold forth on almost any topic — politics, economy, law, governance, human rights, crime, defence — and take on the mightiest, whether from rival parties, or from other domains. The No. 2 man in the Modi government is currently a member of the Rajya Sabha from Gujarat, having lost to Capt Amarinder Singh (Amritsar constituency in Punjab) in the Lok Sabha elections in 2014. He also held the all-important defence portfolio in the initial days of the Modi government before the appointment of Manohar Parrikar.By virtue of being the finance minister of India, he heads the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council, the apex decision-making body for all matters concerning the rolling out and administration of the GST as and when it happens.Here are some interesting facts about FM Arun Jaitley (taken from various sources including his website)Born on December 28 1952 to Maharaj Kishen Jaitley and Ratan Prabha Jaitley.Did schooling at St. Xavier’s School, New Delhi.Married to Sangeeta Dogra in May 1982, and has two children, son Rohan and daughter Sonali.Graduated in Commerce from Shri Ram College of Commerce, New Delhi in 1973; completed Law degree course from the University of Delhi in 1977. Was president of the University Students’ Union in 1974.Was placed under detention for about 19 months during Emergency.Joined BJP in 1980.Designated as Senior Advocate by the Delhi High Court in January 1990; appointed Additional Solicitor General in 1989.Member of BJP national executive since 1991.FM @arunjaitley, MoS, @arjunrammeghwal, MoS, @santoshgangwar and senior @FinMinIndia officials present #Budget2017 to #PresidentMukherjee pic.twitter.com/0Qiahg6Jdg— PIB India (@PIB_India) February 1, 2017