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Import curb effect: Gold seizures rose more than 7-fold in 2013-14

With import restrictions in place, gold smuggling has witnessed a spurt during 2013-14 as indicated by the value of precious metal seized rising to Rs 678 crore, up from Rs 94 crore a year ago.

Most of the seizures of illegal gold were made at airports in Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai and Calicut, according to the information provided by the CBEC and Directorate of Revenue Intelligence to the Finance Ministry.

In 2013-14 fiscal, the Customs department has detected 2,419 cases of seizures with value of Rs 678 crore. In 2012-13, they had detected 919 cases with the value of gold seized at Rs 94 crore.

In the first three months (April-June) of current fiscal, 1,264 cases of smuggling were detected and value of gold seized was Rs 354 crore, which is more than half of the total amount seized during full 2013-14 fiscal.

The data shows that in the month of June, the quantity of gold seized was Rs 464 kgs, in May and April it was 362 kg and 461 kg, respectively.

In order to check the rising CAD, the government raised import duty on the yellow metal in three phases to 10 per cent in 2013, while RBI imposed curbs on import of gold and also laid down various pre-conditions for inward shipments of the precious metal.

The Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) has already communicated to the field formations to be alert and to keep a close watch on the trend of smuggling of gold.

Current account deficit (CAD), which is the excess of foreign exchange outflows over inflows, touched a historic high of $88 billion, or 4.7 per cent of GDP in 2012-13, mainly due to rising imports of gold and petroleum products.

CAD came down to $32.4 billion or 1.7 per cent of GDP in 2013-14.
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