Home / Politics / Policy /  No plans yet to scrap gold import curbs: Chidambaram

Mumbai: India is not planning any changes to its record import duty on gold and other restrictions on imports until the current account deficit is firmly under control, finance minister P. Chidambaram told CNBC TV18 in Davos.

“Until we have a firm grip on the current account deficit I do not contemplate any roll back in any measure. We will have a full idea of the current account deficit only when the budget is presented and when the year comes to an end," Chidambaram said.

He was answering a question about an earlier TV report that Sonia Gandhi, the leader of the ruling Congress party, had written to the government asking for gold import restrictions to be eased. Chidambaram said he had not read the letter.

India has a record 10% import duty and a rule that says 20% of all imports must leave the country as exports. India used to be the world’s biggest buyer of bullion until the government introduced the curbs in order to contain a record current account deficit.

India’s fiscal year ends on 31 March 2014 and the budget will be presented in February.

Chidambaram also called the past record of BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi is “highly questionable" and “highly controversial" which cannot be simply forgotten.

“We can’t say forget my past record. Everybody is entitled to judge the candidate on his past record as well as on what he promises to do. His past record is highly questionable, highly debatable, highly controversial," he said. The minister said if BJP as an opposition party had the right to criticise the ruling coalition, Congress too had the right to criticise Modi.

Congress has been attacking the Gujarat chief minister relentlessly over his role during the 2002 post-Godhra riots. “So we will draw attention to his past record and we will criticise his policies as and when they announce them. I have now not yet heard, a set of policies from either Modi or the BJP," Chidambaram told news channel ET Now. He was responding to a question whether 2014 elections were about Modi’s past or the developmental agenda that he has been talking about.

PTI contributed to the story.

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