No proposal to lower gold import duty: FinMin
New Delhi: The Finance Ministry on Friday said at present it has no proposal to lower customs duty on gold from the current 10 percent.
"Currently, there is no proposal to reduce the customs duty on gold," Minister of State for Finance Nirmala Sitharaman said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha.
There have been demands for reduction in the levy on the precious metal as imports declined to 638 tonnes in 2013-14 from 845 tonnes in the previous fiscal.
Following a sudden spurt in gold import in the beginning of 2013, the government had hiked import duty on the precious metal to 10 percent in phases.
The government and the Reserve Bank also imposed certain other restrictions on shipments, including linking of imports to exports to prevent outgo of the foreign exchange, adding to instances of smuggling.
In a separate reply, Sitharaman said the quantity of gold imported during the April-June quarter of the current fiscal was 221 tonnes, while in value terms it was Rs 54,792 crore.
The value of imported gold stood at Rs 2.28 lakh crore in 2011-12, Rs 2.45 lakh crore in 2012-13 and Rs 1.60 lakh crore in 2013-14.
Sitharaman said the cases of gold smuggling had gone up in 2013-14 to 2,441. In 2012-13 and 2011-12 the number of such cases stood at 869 and 500 respectively.
She said the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) has communicated to all field formations to keep a close watch on the trend of smuggling of gold.
Other intelligence agencies, like the DRI, are also keeping a close watch on gold smuggling, she added.
High gold imports also pushed up the current account deficit as it rose to USD 88.2 billion or 4.7 percent of GDP in 2012-13. Through import curbs, the CAD has been brought down to USD 32.4 billion or 1.7 percent in 2013-14.