While speaking at the occasion of the International Customs Day on Jan. 26, Indian Finance Minister, Mr. P. Chidambaram admitted that in spite of the stringent import restrictions, gold smuggling reached up to 3,000 kg in certain months.
Responding to the matter of reducing the current import duty and restrictions on gold from the high 10 %, Chidambaram exerted that the Government is presently focused on bringing down the current account deficit (CAD) to $ 50 billion and therefore has no plans to reduce its import duty. However, he assured that the finance ministry will be reviewing gold restrictions by March-end after the budget is presented. By the time, he anticipates to reduce CAD as planned.
In the wake of import restrictions and high customs duty and premiums imposed on gold recently, an uncontrollable increase of gold smuggling to India was witnessed over the year. The estimates of smuggling was shocking when Chidambaram revealed that up to 3000 kg of the yellow metal was seized while being imported through illegal means. However, he justified his move of imposing import restrictions citing it necessary to keep the acceleration of gold import under control. He further added that the gold import in April and May last year had surpassed 300 tonnes, which had considerably declined after the RBI restrictions.