Wednesday, March 12, 2014

India's Gold Smugglers getting innovative
KOLKATA: Smugglers are certainly getting more and more innovative when it comes to sneaking gold into the country. A few days ago, the customs department seized gold biscuits hidden inside a consignment of mobile phones at the NSCBI airport in Kolkata. On Wednesday, the 40 Bn of the Border Security Force (BSF) seized 2.8 kg of the precious metal stashed inside the tyres of a bicycle. The haul was valued at more than Rs 82 lakh.
With gold running up the second highest import bill after crude oil, India has been making attempts to curb the entry of the yellow metal into India through legal channels. One of the steps adopted was increase of import duty by 10%. The import of gold was also tied to jewellery exports.

This led to a crisis and jewelers in the country became dependent on smuggled or recycled gold. The high customs duty also pushed up the price of gold in India turning smuggling into a lucrative business. The Wold Gold Council estimates that 150-200 tonnes of gold may have been smuggled into India in 2013. This is in addition to the official demand for 900 tonnes. The country's official import of gold has fallen significantly in the last year, pushing up demand for the smuggled stuff.

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