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'Elephant in the room' — Finance Minister red flags gold smuggling

'Elephant in the room' — Finance Minister red-flags gold smuggling

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By Sapna Das   | Sangam Singh  Dec 5, 2022 4:08:23 PM IST (Updated)

Finance Minister Sitharaman, while addressing an event on the occasion of the 65th Founding Day celebrations of the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, said that artificial intelligence is needed for detection of gold smuggling in the country.

Addressing an event in Delhi, Finance Minister Sitharaman red-flagged high quantities of gold smuggled into India, calling for better detection than it is currently. "If 800 kg of smuggled gold is detected on an average per year I am sure this is an elephant in the room," she said.

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The union minister was unveiling the “Smuggling in India Report 2021-22” on the occasion of the 65th Founding Day celebrations of the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI).

Sitharaman stated that customs duty on gold imports was not the reason for high smuggling. Instead, she said that she had noticed a connection between legal gold import quantity and the smuggled detections.
"I briefly saw a connection. There seems to be some kind of a relation... if big numbers of gold are imported followed by a spike in the detection of smuggled gold. July 21, March 21 India had a very high import of gold coupled with high detection of gold smuggling." 
"I don’t know if there’s a causal relation but is there a correlation, it raised an interesting question in my mind," she added. 
Batting for better mapping of gold smuggling into India, Sitharaman said that better artificial intelligence is needed for this.
The Finance Minister also expressed concern about the drugs coming into the country, especially large amounts of cocaine.
She also said to the law enforcement officers to see if there’s a causal relationship between drug smuggling also and to bring these cases of smuggling to a logical conclusion.
"Better sharing of intelligence, better access to bilateral agreements is needed to plug this," she added.
DRI is the country's apex intelligence and enforcement agency on anti-smuggling matters. It came into existence on December 4, 1957. With headquarters in New Delhi, DRI has 12 zonal units, 35 regional units and 15 sub-regional units.
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