The seizure of smuggled gold at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport has increased almost 14 times, jumping from 6.6 kg in 2012-13 to 83.3 kg worth Rs. 22 crore till December. In addition, 24 people have been arrested against only one last year.
Customs officials say the regular increase in gold’s import duty has resulted in the smuggling spurt. The government raised gold’s import duty thrice last year to curb rising gold imports that had made India’s current account deficit (the difference between dollar imports and exports) balloon to an unsustainable $88 billion.
The move increased gold prices, curbed demand and reigned in the deficit but the difference between domestic and international prices fanned smuggling.
Most passengers arrested were concealing gold bars in their rectum. The most common mode of smuggling is in the form of jewellery where the smugglers also earn money on the making charges.