Abu Dhabi: Indian expatriates travelling to India wearing gold ornaments, may have a reason to smile again soon.
The Indian government will soon take steps to amend a four-decade-old customs rule which even stops people from wearing simple gold ornaments for fear of being charged customs duty at airports.
The government of India is in the process of the amending the current customs act dating back to 1967 to allow those travelling to India carry more gold jewellery, a senior cabinet minister said at a public function in India on Monday, according to local media reports.
“As per the age-old Indian Customs and Central Excise Rules 1967, a female passenger is allowed to carry only gold worth Rs20,000 (Dh1,327) and a male passenger Rs10,000 (Dh663). This situation was pointed out to Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh in the past and he had assured amendment of the rules at the earliest,” said Minister for Indian Overseas Affairs Vayalar Ravi. He was addressing the eighth annual conference of the Jewellery Manufacturers’ Association (JMA) held in Thrissur in Kerala on Monday.
Although the issue could not be solved immediately, it will be taken up again, Ravi said.
“The rules ought to be amended as the price of gold has skyrocketed. The amendment is the need of the hour while looking at the potential market for gold in the country. Already gold imports are almost equal to crude oil imports,” said the minister, hinting that the new rule will be based on the quantity of gold imported and not on its value.
As Gulf News reported recently, based on average gold prices in India, a male passenger would be able to carry just 3.8 grams of gold and a female passenger about 7.6 grams without paying customs duty. The excess jewellery attracts about 13 per cent customs duty.
Vayalar Ravi had highlighted the fact that Indian women on average tend to wear a gold chain, earrings and a wedding ring weighing at least 25-30 grams.
At the time the rule was first implemented, the price of gold was just Rs40 per gram, allowing a male passenger to carry 250 grams of gold and a female passenger 500 grams without paying any tax.
Meanwhile many expatriates have signed an online petition created by a social organisation in the UAE, asking the Indian Finance Minister to amend the controversial customs rule. The petition created by K.V. Shams Al Deen, Chairman of Pravasi Bandhu Welfare Trust, can be accessed at http://www.change.org/petitions/pravasi-bandhu-welfare-trust-withdraw-customs-duty-on-gold-ornaments-2 .
Maisoon Mubarak is an intern at Gulf News.