Gold imports decreased by 84% following hike in customs duty
An application was filed with the Union Ministry of Finance under the Right to Information (RTI) Act seeking to get information regarding whether there was a decline in the import of gold after customs duty for the same was increased.
The reply to the application reveals that India's total gold imports declined by around 84 per cent in November, 2013 as compared to total imports in January, 2013. The government had raised the import duty on gold to 10 per cent in August, 2013 besides imposing other restrictions on the import of yellow metal. The move was aimed at narrowing India's current account deficit, which touched a historic high of 4.8 per cent of GDP in 2012-13 and was mainly attributed to high imports of gold and petroleum products.
The reply says that India had imported 1.2 lakh kg of gold worth Rs. 35,528.24 crore in January, 2013 but the imports declined to 21,281 kg of gold valued at Rs. 5,619.66 crore in November, 2013, thus registering a decrease of around Rs. 29,900 crore. The reply said that the data was gathered through the electronic data interchange only and does not include manual data.
Customs duty on raw gold has been revised five times in past two years - raised to 2% on January 17, 2012; 4% in Budget 2012, 6% on January 21, 2013; 8% on June 5, 2013 and 10% on August 13, 2013. There have been allegations of increase in imports through illegal channels.