Today’s gold price is around Rs.2,723 per gram (24 Karat) and Rs.2,546 (22 Karat), despite Akshaya Tritiya.
Otherwise, visitors to jewellery shops in colourful silk sarees attract the attention of any other woman and the public to curiously enquire what’s so special about it.
Those busy going to their offices swear to visit one on their return, while others are at least hoping that buying some token gold coin would make the day fruitful.
As per the Hindu tradition, Akshaya Tritiya is the most auspicious days to buy gold, silver, ornaments or land in India and even jains join the belief. It marks the birthday of Lord Parasurama, the sixth incarnation of Lord Vishnu and legend goes that on this day, Veda Vyas and Lord Ganesha began to write Mahabharata.
Both in Jain and Hindu calendars, some days are absent owing to tithi but Akshay Tritiya is never “absent” from the lunar calendar.
“Akshaya”, which means never-diminishing in Sanskrit, and the day is believed to bring good luck and any venture initiated on Akshaya Tritiya brings in more prosperity, according to popular belief.
This year, the Akshay Tritiya falls today, Tuesday, April 21, 2014. The next auspicious day, according to tradition is Dhanteras, which coincides with Diwali season. In view of Akshaya Tritiya, the retail traders have decided to keep their shops shutter open for business for extra hours on Tuesday.
Unlike last year’s restrictions, the bullion market is slightly eased though government reduced to bring down the import duty from 10% to 2%.
The expected gold imports this year may go up by more than 89% at 100 tonnes in April compared with last year’s imports at 53 tonne, according the All India Gems and Jewellery Trade Federation (GJF).
Since January, India has imported 286.2 tonnes gold compared with 137.5 tonnes in 2014, owing to several restrictions imposed by the government, including increasing the import duty to more than 10% and introducing 80:20 scheme, making it compulsory to export at least 20% of the imported gold before bringing in more.
Last November, the Reserve Bank had scrapped the 80:20 scheme but the government has so far refused to reduce the current 10% duty. With weaker monsoon last year, rural India’s buying capacity has come down this year as it forms 2/3rd of the sales on Akshaya Tritiya.
Another reason for a cautious buying buying this year is the government’s restriction for compulsory linking of PAN cards when purchasing over Rs 1 lakh worth of gold. However, it may be effective from June 1. Anyhow, this could deter bulk buyers for investing purpose.
Why should government dissuade the public from buying gold? Essentially considered non-productive and notional investment, India is coming under pressure from the world Bank, IMF and the US as gold stocks would tilt the balance in favour of India and China in case of global financial crunch.
Otherwise, expecting a peak demand today, retail jewellers and established brand names are offering special schemes and discounts to lure customers.