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Gold smuggling rises in 2013-14, but govt rejects calls to cut import duty

Feb 11 2014, 16:41 IST
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In order to contain the Current Account Deficit, the government had hiked import duty on gold thrice last year. (PTI) In order to contain the Current Account Deficit, the government had hiked import duty on gold thrice last year. (PTI)
SummaryGovernment admitted today a jump in cases of gold smuggling due to increase in import duty...

Government today said there has been a rise in cases of gold smuggling due to increase in import duty rate, but ruled out any immediate change in the duty structure of the precious metal.

The enforcement agencies during the first nine months of 2013-14 have seized 1,074.41 kg of gold as against 326.23 kg seized during the entire 2012-13 fiscal, Minister of State for Finance J D Seelam said in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha.

"The cases booked by DRI and customs field formations indicate that there has been an increase in gold smuggling during the past one year. The increase may be partly attributable to the fluctuation of the price of gold and customs duty rate," he said.

The Minister further pointed out that 514 people have been arrested so far in the current financial year for smuggling of gold as against 154 persons during 2012-13.

On whether the government is considering revoking the restrictions on gold import, Seelam said: "At present there is no such proposal under consideration."

In order to contain the Current Account Deficit, the government had hiked import duty on gold thrice last year to 10 per cent.

CAD, which touched a record high of USD 88.2 billion last financial year, is expected to come down to USD 50 billion in 2013-14.

Gold imports which had touched a high of 162 tonnes in May came down to 19 tonnes in November.

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