The steep increase since June in the import duty on gold would, it was hoped, make the exchequer richer. However, revenue on this count fell sharply from Rs 2,195 crore in April to Rs 113 crore in September.
The fall is mainly due to import curbs, resulting in the value of gold imports falling from Rs 36,223 crore to Rs 3,150 crore in this period. The tariff on gold was six per cent in April. The government increased it to eight per cent in June and to 10 per cent in August. This was the fifth rise in less than two years and the government had said it would give the exchequer an additional Rs 4,830 crore.
"The highest gain was made at a duty rate of six per cent. Since then, the collections have been coming down," said a finance ministry official who did not wish to be identified.
In July-September, revenue from the import duty was Rs 1,055 crore, against Rs 1,897 crore in the same period last year, a drop of 44 per cent. During the April-June quarter, when the duty was six per cent for two of the first three months, there was a jump of 250 per cent in Customs collections to Rs 5,172 crore from Rs 1,479 crore in the corresponding period last year.
"Gold imports are likely to be 10-15 tonnes a month in the second half of the year. So, we will get revenue of about Rs 700 crore during October-March, taking total collection for the year to around Rs 7,000 crore," the official added.
Revenue collection from the tariff was Rs 10,463 crore in 2012-13. Over April-September, it was Rs 6,227 crore, against Rs 3,376 crore in the year-ago period.
Officials said the reduction in imports from 142.5 tonnes in April to 11.2 tonnes in September was due to import curbs by the Reserve Bank of India and not so much because of the duty increase, as even at this rate it made sense for people to import gold legally.
The central bank banned import of gold coins and medallions to help contain the current account deficit, which swelled to 4.8 per cent of the GDP or $88 billion in 2012-13. RBI also made it mandatory for importers to export at least 20 per cent of their imports as jewellery.
The government is expecting gold import to come down to 800 tonnes this financial year, compared with 845 tonnes in 2012-13. In April-September, the first six months of the financial year, 405 tonnes worth Rs 101,131 crore were imported, a rise of 17 per cent over the previous year's period.