New Delhi:  Imports of sensitive items including fruits, vegetables and edible oils went up by 42.6 percent to Rs 83,714 crore during April-January 2012.
    
The value of sensitive items imported during the year-ago period was Rs 58,697 crore. Imports of fruits and vegetables soared to Rs 7,932 crore during the 10-month period last fiscal, from Rs 4,273 crore during April-January of 2010-11, the Commerce Ministry said.
    
Items such as foodgrains, automobiles, milk and beverages fall in the sensitive category and the import of these goods is monitored by the government to see if there is any adverse impact on the domestic industry.
    
Imports of edible oils rose by 57.4 percent to Rs 37,742 crore, from Rs 23,975 crore during April-January 2011. India is the world's largest importer of edible oil and one of the largest consumers.
    
"The increase in edible oil import is mainly due to substantial increase in import of crude palm oil and its fractions," it said. During the 10 months of last fiscal, the import of items such as alcoholic beverages and spices also increased by 56.5 percent and 59.4 percent, respectively.
    
Imports of products of small scale industries such as umbrellas, locks, toys and glassware went up by 45.8 percent year-on-year to Rs 1,830 crore. Automobile imports jumped by 61.5 percent year-on-year in April-January 2012 to Rs 3,120 crore. Similarly, milk imports too increased by 20 percent during the period.
    
Retail inflation, based on the Consumer Price Index, was 7.65 percent the January 2012. However, imports of foodgrains contracted 93.5 percent. Imports of sensitive items from countries like Indonesia, China, Malaysia, Argentina, Germany, Korea, US, Canada, Japan,
UK, Australia have gone up, while those from Brazil have gone down.

(Agencies)