By Rajesh Kumar Singh, Siddesh Mayenkar
India's passion for gold is putting such a strain on state finances that the government may slap higher import taxes on the precious metal, but demand buoyed by heady inflation and meagre savings will blunt the impact of any rise in duties.
Initial success from a tax hike in March last year was stifled by the arrival of major festivals such as Diwali, when gold is a must-give present, and the winter wedding season.
That has scuppered New Delhi's goal of reining in spending on gold by around a third to $38 billion in the fiscal year that ends in March, prompting Finance Minister P. Chidambaram to say another tax increase could be on the cards. ...