Will revisit gold import curbs after final CAD figures: FM

Written by PTI | New Delhi | Updated: Mar 6 2014, 08:31am hrs
Under intense pressure to relax gold import curbs, the government said Wednesday it will review the decision after getting final figures on the current account deficit (CAD).

"We will revisit the import duty on gold only after the CAD figures become clear for the end of the year. Let's see what the CAD figures are," finance minister P Chidambaram told reporters.

The government had imposed restrictions on imports of the yellow metal to contain CAD, which touched a record high of $88.2 billion in 2012-13. CAD in the current financial year is expected to narrow to $50 billion.

Gold imports, which peaked at 162 tonnes in May, came down to 19.3 tonnes in November after the government hiked import duty thrice in 2013, taking it to 10%.

Besides, the Reserve Bank of India linked imports of the precious metal to exports amid a widening CAD and depreciation of the rupee.

With the growing clamour for a cut in customs duty on gold, Congress president Sonia Gandhi had written to the ministry of commerce and industry to take appropriate action on demands of gems and jewellery exporters to reduce the levy and relax the rule linking imports of the metal with exports.

Commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma too made a case on Tuesday for easing curbs on gold imports, saying over-regulation was encouraging smuggling of the yellow metal.

"I have been of the consistent view that we have to achieve a balance. Over-regulation leads to another problem... and that is smuggling. Therefore, some easing is essential," Sharma had said.