The jump in official gross import is significant because the Indian government tries to hold down gold import since it sky rocketed in April and May 2013, after the price of gold had crashed. The import duty on the yellow metal was raised from 6 % to 8 % in June 2013 and to 10 % August, when the 80/20 rule (20 % of all import needs to be re-exported) was also implemented. As a result of these measures gross import fell 73 % to 44 tonnes in June, from 165 in May 2013.
Demand for gold in India has little impact from the government measures, according to institutional consultant Jayant Bhandari.
Supply simply circumvents the official channels and is smuggled into the country. How much is exactly smuggled in is very hard to tell. However, official import can be an indicator for total import. Jayant wrote me it’s likely that at this moment Indians are pending their gold purchases as India choose a new government in May, which is expected to lower the import duty this year. If the import duty is lowered demand is expected to increase.