NEW DELHI: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday said that the customs duty on gold has been increased to discourage the high import of gold. Customs duty on gold has been increased from 10.75 per cent to 15 per cent on June 30 by the Finance Ministry.
"There has been a sudden surge in imports of gold. In the month of May, a total of 107 tonnes of gold was imported and in June also the imports have been significant. The surge in gold imports is putting pressure on the current account deficit. To curb the import of gold, customs duty has been increased from present 10.75 per cent to 15 per cent," read the statement by the Ministry of Finance. The Finance Minister said that these are extraordinary times when international prices of crude oil are going up.
If oil is exported with extraordinary profits, we need supply for Indian consumers also, Sitharaman told reporters in New Delhi on the sidelines of the GST Day function at Vigyan Bhawan. Sitharaman said that export duty on fuel is not intended to discourage exports. It is difficult to get oil at affordable prices from abroad.
On Friday, the Government imposed special additional excise duties /Cesses on exports of petrol and diesel at the rate of Rs 6 per litre on petrol and Rs 13 per litre on diesel. A cess of Rs 23,250 per tonne by way of special additional excise duty has been imposed on crude. A special additional excise duty (SAED) of Rs 6 per litre has been imposed on exports of Aviation Turbine Fuel.
Responding to a question on the weakening rupee after the rupee hit a fresh record low against the dollar, the Finance Minister said, "The Reserve Bank of India and the government are keeping an eye on the exchange rate of the rupee. The RBI Governor is in touch with me and giving input on how they are managing the rupee. I am confident that RBI keenly watches the exchange rate of the rupee." "We are not alone in this world... so developments happening everywhere will have an impact on us. But the rupee against the dollar and other currencies versus the dollar, the rupee has performed relatively better," she added.
Clarifying more on SAED on ATF, Revenue Secretary Tarun Bajaj said that every 15 days international prices of petrol, and diesel ATF will be reviewed and assessed. "Increase in export duty on fuel to apply to SEZs as well," he added. Bajaj said export restrictions on fuel will not be applicable to SEZs and export duty increases will apply to SEZs but not export restrictions.