Owing to their scarce availability in nature, most of the metals that have been categorised as “precious metals” (they are quite few) have been historically considered as a form of currency. However, today they are regarded mainly as investment and industrial commodities. Nevertheless gold, silver, platinum and palladium still possess an ISO 4217 currency code, which indicates that they are not just commodities but de facto money. According to estimates, the gold acquired over the years in India is around 20,000 tonnes, the largest holdings by any country. Owing to limited bullion supplies, the demand has been largely met through imports.
Apart from the common man, central banks also have been holding gold reserves as a store of value right from the days of Gold Standard and Bretton Woods Standard. In 2009, the Government of India purchased 200 tonnes of gold from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) at $6.7 billion. This purchase propelled India to the tenth position among top gold reserves holding nations.