Gold imports, which have a bearing on the country's current account deficit, jumped multi-fold to USD 7.9 billion (Rs 58,572.99 crore) during the April-June 2021 quarter due to the low base effect in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to data from the Commerce Ministry.

Imports of the yellow metal had plunged to USD 688 million (Rs 5,208.41 crore) in the corresponding period last year, the data showed.

Silver imports, however, dipped by 93.7 per cent to USD 39.4 million.

The significant increase in gold imports has led to the widening of the country's trade deficit, which is the difference between imports and exports, to about USD 31 billion during April-June this fiscal.

India is the largest importer of gold, which mainly caters to the demand of the jewellery industry. In volume terms, the country imports 800-900 tonnes of gold annually.

Gems and jewellery exports increased to USD 9.1 billion during the first three months of the current fiscal, as against USD 2.7 billion in the same period previous year.