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Sunday, January 26, 2014

Spurt in gold smuggling; yellow metal worth Rs 245 crore seized 
[Editor: The problem with the UPA government is that: it has a very slow decision making body. The government should immediately relax import restrictions put on gold, as it is proving to be counter productive. Moreover, with Mr.Sharad Pawar, one of the most powerful persons of the Indian Sugar Lobby, at the helm of the UPA government, can anyone expect the  food prices to go down too much in the near future?]
New Delhi, 26 Jan, 2014: Indicating a surge in cases of gold smuggling, sleuths of revenue department have seized the yellow metal worth about Rs 245 crore being pushed illegally through the country's borders in the past one year. 

As many as 700 cases of gold smuggling have been reported across the country so far during 2013-14, official sources said. 

These cases were reported by customs and Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) officials, among others, through international airports and land borders, and involved seizure of gold valuing about Rs 245 crore, they said. 

There were 870 cases of gold smuggling reported during 2012-13 involving seizure of the yellow metal worth Rs 99 crore, the sources said. 

The increase in cases of gold smuggling has been a matter of concern for Finance Ministry which is grappling to rein in Current Account Deficit (CAD), difference between the outflow and inflow of foreign currency. 

The CAD touched a historic high of USD 88.2 billion or 4.8 per cent of GDP in 2012-13 and was mainly attributed to high imports of petroleum products and gold. 

India, the largest gold consumer in the world, has imported 830 tonnes of gold in 2012-13. Finance Ministry has been taking various steps to curb gold imports. 

Revenue department officials blame gold import duty hike for rise in cases of smuggling. 

The Finance Ministry had in January, 2012 decided to hike duty to two per cent by making it ad-valorem (according to value). Earlier, Rs 300 was charged as tariff on the import of 10 grammes of gold. 

Subsequently, it was raised to four per cent in 2012-13, six per cent in January 2013, eight per cent on June 5 and 10 per cent in August last year.