People visiting India to attend weddings can now bring their jewellery into the country without any hassle.
To give relief to non-resident Indians and air travellers bringing gold with them, the customs has proposed to take a one-time refundable payment from them at the Delhi airport.
Often, passengers carrying gold have complained of customs officials harassing them.
“As per the rule, bringing gold without declaring it is illegal. NRI women, who have stayed abroad for over a year, can bring gold worth Rs 1 lakh. Thereafter, there is a duty of 10% on gold jewellery and 6% on biscuits. We have to stop them even though we know they bring the jewellery for weddings. This is not smuggling, but we are bound by rules,” said a customs official.
A female passenger, who has stayed outside India for six months, is allowed to carry gold worth Rs 1 lakh. For a male passenger, the limit is Rs 50,000.
To reduce harassment, customs has proposed that a traveller be charged 10% of the duty, which he reclaim on his/her return.
“This way, we get an assurance from the passenger that he/she is not smuggling,” the official said.
Customs will depute a jewellery appraiser to assess the value of gold. In the customs declaration form, a traveller has to declare gold he is wearing or carrying.
The appraiser will give an export certificate to travellers, who want to carry gold on their foreign visit so they are not harassed on their return.
“A passenger is generally unaware that he can be stopped on arrival in India if he is carrying more than the allowed amount of jewellery. Most Indian passengers claim it is their jewellery but are fined for not declaring it when going abroad,” said a customs official, requesting anonymity.