Wearing gold ornaments to avoid paying custom duty will no longer work at the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA).
The customs department has made it mandatory for all flyers arriving in Delhi from international destinations to fill a detailed declaration form. The new form was to be introduced from January 1 but there were some problems. It will now be available to the flyers from next month. The new form has 19 questions while the old one had only four.
“There will be specific queries so that the passenger declares everything he/she is carrying. Jewellery is the most important item and passenger has to tick ‘yes’ on the form if he/she is carrying jewellery beyond the free allowance. In that case, he/she will have to stop at the customs counter,” said a customs official, requesting anonymity.
Last year, the limit of jewellery for women was increased from Rs. 20,000 to Rs. 1 lakh. For men, it was hiked from Rs. 10,000 to Rs. 50,000. But despite the increase, a woman flyer cannot carry more than 35 gms of gold, which is still very less.
Apart from asking basic questions such as countries visited in the past six days and the total value of goods being imported which can incur duty, the department has put nine questions in the category called ‘Are you bringing the following items into India?’
“In those nine questions, the passenger has to declare if he/she is carrying gold jewellery, gold bars, meat products, satellite phone and Indian or foreign currency,” the official added.
The forms will be distributed to the airlines so that flyers can fill them before arriving at the airport. Last year, as many as 20 passengers were stopped and fined and few were even arrested for carrying gold jewellery without declaring it.