Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Security hiked at airport to prevent gold smuggling

Visakhapatnam: The 2.5% hike in customs duty on gold have left customs officials at Visakhapatnam airport apprehensive on a possible rise in smuggling and illegal sale of the yellow metal. Officials have decided to increase vigil on the 17 international flights (a week) from the airport.
There have been 33 cases of gold seizure at the airport in the last three financial years, where 11,743.38 grams of gold worth Rs 373.9 lakh was seized.

“Smuggling is not a habit. It’s a business. The hike in customs duty would increase the total expenditure on gold import. We are apprehensive about a steep rise in gold smuggling cases and have adopted a few precautionary measures,” principal customs commissioner DK Srinivas told TOI.

In the last budget, duty on gold import was raised to 12.5% from 10%, that is, for gold worth Rs 1 lakh the present import duty is Rs 12,500 instead of Rs 10,000. In addition, there are a few other fees and a GST of 3%.

“The GST of 3% on gold imports remains the same. But GST is calculated on the total landing cost that includes gold value, other fees and import duty. So the amount calculated on GST is bound to increase. It means, the net import cost for traders would increase to a great extent,” added Srinivas.

Air intelligence officials are scanning passengers details sourced from the airlines and are trying to filter out the suspected passengers.

Officials said, besides keeping a strict vigil on incoming flights, they have increased vigil on departing flights as well.
10/07/19 Arpit Basu/Times of India
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