New Delhi, Mar 20 (PTI) Import restrictions on gold may have led to increase in smuggling of the precious metal in recent years, Parliament was informed today.
"From the increase in number and value of gold seizure cases, it appears that the spurt in gold smuggling activity in recent years may be partly due to curbs imposed on gold imports," Minister of State for Finance Jayant Sinha said in a written reply to Lok Sabha.
Gold worth Rs 931.55 crore has been seized by customs authorities and Directorate of Revenue Intelligence during the April-January 2015 period of this fiscal.
In 2013-14, 2012-13 and 2011-12, the authorities had seized gold worth Rs 686.99 crore, Rs 104.62 crore and Rs 43.87 crore, respectively.
Number of cases of gold seizure by authorities has increased to 3,412 during April-January period of the current fiscal as against 2,450 in the full 2013-14 fiscal.
In 2012-13 and 2011-12, the number of such cases registered were 900 and 503, respectively. India's gold imports reached an all-time high level of USD 56.5 billion and USD 53.8 billion during 2011-12 and 2012-13.
The government has increased import duty on gold to 10 per cent to discourage imports and contain widening current account deficit.
In a separate reply, Sinha said during April-December period, India has exported gold worth Rs 9,434.5 crore while imports stood at Rs 1.56 lakh crore.
During the period, India has imported as much as 3,86,313 kg gold from Switzerland, followed by the US (59,692 kg), South Africa (32,570 kg) and Australia (30,644 kg).
Replying to another question on gold, the Minister said that as per the DRI, one case of misuse amounting to duty evasion of Rs 72.36 lakh has been booked by them.
Further, he informed Lok Sabha that in Gold Monetisation Scheme, the owner will earn income on deposited gold.