Has Gold Smuggling Really Increased In India?
Addressing tax officials on the Customs Day on 28th Jan, Finance Minister P Chidambaram said that there has been an increase in the smuggling of gold to the tune of about 1-3 tonnes every month ever since the restrictions were imposed on the yellow metal last year. IndiaSpend did a quick check to see the amount of gold smuggled into the country, and yes, there has been a sharp jump over the last few years.
Data from the Lok Sabha shows that the number of gold smuggling cases jumped 449% to 664 cases in 2013 (Data till Oct) from 121 cases in 2010. The increase in the value of the gold is obviously a lot more with the total value coming to around Rs 208 cr during Jan-Oct 2013 from 17.2 cr in 2010. Most of the seized gold has been from countries like UAE, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal and Hong Kong.
In fact, numerous media reports of gold smuggling have been highlighted with the recent one being the arrest of four people who were trying to smuggle gold bars into the country worth over Rs 1.5 cr.
Last year, the government had increased customs duty on gold three times in order to contain the Current Account Deficit (CAD). However, the statement made by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) that the CAD is expected to decline to below 2.5% of GDP from 1.8% a year ago have raised expectations of a cut in the import duty on gold.