Gold smuggling on the rise as high prices boost appeal in India

Source:, Dec 13, 2019

MUMBAI : Surging gold prices in India are keeping customs officials on their toes.

Illegal inflows have jumped after the Indian government increased import taxes in July and prices surged to record highs in September. Customs officials have arrested people for attempting to smuggle in gold by concealing it in bags, clothes and their rectums. On one flight alone, officials caught 30 passengers trying to smuggle in 7.5 kilograms (16.5 pounds) of gold into Chennai.

“The propensity to smuggle now is very high because every time you increase the tax rate, you give that much more incentive to smugglers,” P.R. Somasundaram, managing director for the region at the World Gold Council, said in an interview. “So it will continue like this unless measures are taken by not just the government but also the trade which shares an equal responsibility to obliterate the grey market.”

Gold in India touched a record high of 39,885 rupees ($563) per 10 grams in early September on higher import taxes and as the U.S-China trade conflict and looser monetary policy boosted global benchmark spot prices. While bullion has since retreated from the all-time high, it’s still up 20% this year.

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Govt to ease FPI rules in bid to attract foreign investment

download (2).jpgSource: Live, Feb 27, 2018

Mumbai: The government plans to cut red tape and ease rules for foreign portfolio investors (FPI), as it seeks to attract more investments into Asia’s third-largest economy, three people with direct knowledge of the matter said.

As part of the plan, the government will reduce the time required for FPIs to register in India, introduce a single-window clearance for them and allow foreign banks to trade on behalf of their clients without registering, the people said, requesting anonymity.The steps come at a time when Indian exchanges have decided to stop sharing market data feeds with overseas exchanges to prevent a flight of liquidity from the country. That decision has been criticized by market participants, including index provider MSCI, which termed it anti-competitive and protectionist. Foreign investors pointed out that such moves should be accompanied by removing barriers for global investors.

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EPFO lowers interest rate to 8.55% for FY18

download (2)Source: The Hindu Business Line, Feb 21, 2018

New Delhi: The Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation on Wednesday declared an 8.55 per cent interest rate for financial year 2017-2018. The new rate is marginally lower than the 8.65 per cent interest offered for the financial year 2016-2017.

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Ikea opens distribution centre in Pune, to invest Rs750 crore in Maharashtra

download (3)Source:, Feb 12, 2018

Mumbai: Swedish home furnishing major Ikea has opened a Rs100-crore distribution centre in Pune, and is also scouting for land in Maharashtra to build more facilities at an investment of Rs750 crore, a senior company executive has said.

“We have opened a 2.3 lakh sq ft distribution centre in Pune, on leased land and have pumped in Rs100 crore into this. We will expand this to 3.7 lakh sq ft by next year,” Bimal Patel, the manager, distribution operations at Ikea India, told PTI. “We are also scouting for more land in Maharashtra to build our own warehousing facilities over the next two to three years, and have earmarked an outlay of Rs750 crore for this,” he said.

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Manufacturing PMI falls to 50.3 in October

Source: The Hindu Business Line, Nov 01, 2017

New Delhi: Nikkei India Manufacturing Purchasing Manager’s Index (PMI) fell to 50.3 in October from 51.2 in September as output rose only fractionally while new business orders stagnated.

A reading above 50 on the index denotes expansion and less than that indicates contraction in activities.

“This indicated a broad stagnation in the health of the manufacturing sector during October. At the sector level, improvements in consumer goods negated deteriorations in investment and intermediate goods,” Nikkei said in a release on Wednesday.

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Government to amend cost audit rules under companies law

Source: The Economic Times, Aug 13, 2017

NEW DELHI: The government will amend the cost audit rules under the companies law in order to ensure parity between financial and cost records.The ministry has sought comments from stakeholders on the draft amendments till August 26.

The amendments have been mooted pursuant to implementation of the Indian Accounting Standards (Ind AS), which is converged with global accounting norms.

The corporate affairs ministry, which is implementing the Companies Act, has come out with a draft of the proposed amendments to the Cost Records and Audit rules.Various existing provisions under these rules, including some related to intangible assets, would be done away with while Ind AS compliance would be required for certain other aspects.

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Rough diamond trading might start in India soon

Source: Business Standard, Dec 21, 2015

Mumbai: Rough diamond trading might soon start in India. The government has assured support to global miners for them to commence import and sale in the India’s first special notified zone (SNZ) inaugurated here on Sunday.

Currently, Indian diamantaires source rough diamond through direct sightholding (taking membership of global miners through assurance of minimum annual purchase) and participation in global auctions overseas. This raises cost of rough diamond and uncertainty over its continuous availability.

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Divestment of PSUs back on table

NEW DELHI: With the tough task of ministry-making over, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is keen to get down to the business of governance. “We have to get going,” Singh said while talking to reporters after the swearing-in ceremony on Friday, adding that the President’s address and Budget would point to what the government has in mind.

The remarks were yet another indication that the President’s address to the joint session of the two Houses of Parliament will pack some big announcements with regard to the economy as well as Congress’s poll promises.

The expectation is that President’s address may list specific measures the government plans to take to help economy fight off the consequences of global slowdown.

The PM refused to be drawn out on the specifics, but made it clear that the growing fiscal deficit was among the government’s top concerns. He said fiscal prudence could not be abandoned.

“We will ensure economic growth momentum but at the same time fiscal prudence will be kept in mind,” he said. Significantly, he did not fight shy of touching upon disinvestment — a political taboo so long as the government was dependent on Left’s support.

“Fiscal deficit and disinvestment of public sector units — all these issues will be tackled by the finance minister in the Budget,” Singh said, in a remark which will keep alive the suspense over whether government will put disinvestment back on the table.

Singh, like Sonia Gandhi, acknowledged that finalising his ministerial team was a difficult job. Like the Congress president, the PM talked about the difficulties posed by the need to balance different considerations , but also pointed to availability of talent as one of the determining factors. “There are several factors like availability of talent and other considerations that played a role,” he said.

Source : Economice Times 29/05/09