A diplomat coming to India to attend the wedding of a friend’s daughter was stopped by the customs department at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) recently. The jewellery she was carrying to wear at the wedding was way beyond the allowed limit.
The cap on carrying gold onboard was recently increased but it is still too less and passengers wearing jewellery are often asked to pay duty. Last year, as many as 20 passengers were stopped and fined. A few were even arrested for carrying gold jewellery without declaring it.
“The limit for carrying gold for female passengers has been increased from R20,000 to R1 lakh and for male passengers from R10,000 to R50,000. A female passenger cannot carry more than 35 gms of gold, which is still very less,” a customs department official said.
A source requesting anonymity claimed that if the customs department remains strict, at least 50 passengers would be caught with excess gold jewellery every day.
“The non-resident Indians (NRIs) suffer the most as they often carry jewellery to attend weddings. Though it is not smuggling, but we have to stop them as per rule,” the official added. Officials said such passengers can also be arrested for green channel violation as they cross the customs check without declaring the gold.
There is a duty of 10% on gold jewellery and 6% on gold biscuits. Sources said that the rule is applicable only to those NRIs who are living abroad for more than a year. “Otherwise, one cannot carry even 1gm of gold. If someone is going on a trip, he must mention the jewellery in the departure slip and get an export certificate from the customs, which he/she can show while coming back to India. If a passenger does not fill in the departure slip, he/she will be in trouble while coming back,” the official said.
If the NRIs are not willing to pay duty, they can keep the gold at the customs warehouse and take it back on their return flight.