India in process of amending controversial gold import rule

1967 Indian customs rule restricting amount of gold jewellery to change soon

Tourists at the Dubai Gold Souk
Image Credit: Oliver Clarke/Gulf News archives
Tourists at the Dubai Gold Souk. 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.
12 Gulf News

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.

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  • HYACINTH MOHAMMED

    15-Aug-2012 15:52

    yes, GOVT why need so much time to ammend the law...why they aresticking to fluctuating prices...why to peg with price just fix aWIEGHT ..say .ie 250 grams or so. hence wat ever the price FALL ORRISE...there will be a fixed approved quantity of GOLD which can bebrought to INDIA via airport. weight of ALLOWABLE GOLD can be arrivedat by COMMON Sense and present day basic needs.and our indianculture.-VERY EAZY why months required then????

  • ASH

    15-Aug-2012 15:30

    India is trying to change the rule now!!!!!!! Last year my wife waswearing all her jewellery went she went to Pakistan and no body saidanything to her.

  • Sasidharan Mannathu

    15-Aug-2012 15:11

    This rule must be ammended immediately. I think thereason is to just help the Indian jewellers. The rule must amend toallow minimum 200 grams for male and 350 grams for female passengerstravelling to India from GCC countires. Many poor expatriates areinvesting their little earnings into gold and when they reach in IndianAirports, customs officials are waiting there like EAGLE to charge themby using the 45 years old controversial custums rule. Indian Govt. mustact immediately on this issue to help the poor expatrates.

  • Mohammad Afzal

    15-Aug-2012 15:06

    We will appreciate Govt of India to amend this old rule, as amendingthis will give relief to the passengers travelling to India, whoevercarrying gold over the set old limit.

  • Reena Jacob

    15-Aug-2012 14:04

    Please change the rules. We ladies buy some gold ornaments once in awhile. We like to wear it for occassions. we are always carrying someornaments when we are going to india and back. Please let us to carryand wear it when we like to wear. Please catch the people who aresmuggling gold bars or coins in a lot.

  • RB

    15-Aug-2012 13:45

    New Law should Restrict on weight of gold imported rather than inrupees. Otherwise after 20 years same issue pops up

  • T.A.PALANI

    15-Aug-2012 12:52

    Good news from Gulf News. Expecting our Indian Government's quick action as soon as possible.

  • Sheetal Khude

    15-Aug-2012 12:43

    I also agree to whatever mentioned by Gulf News. Request the Indian Govt to grant our petition.

  • sukaram

    15-Aug-2012 11:13

    Ammendement is required for the Economy procedure. India needs to make normal rule which is better for the country residence visa because if these rules fluctuate and the customs people at the airport will make problem for the female travelers when they visit India on vacationwithout the husband and struggle in airport.... Please make rules display at every airport for NRI's so that everybody can ask for their rights.

  • sujith gladson

    15-Aug-2012 11:13

    During 1967 the gold rate per gram was less than RS 100. At present gold per gram costing more than 2000 RS. Government of india should look at this drastic rate difference and they have to amend new rule according to the current market rates. This kind of rule will be very hard for those Indians leaving Gulf countries, they can't even carry10 grams of gold for their loved ones. sujith gladson, Muscat

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Latest Comment

yes, GOVT why need so much time to ammend the law...why they aresticking to fluctuating prices...why to peg with price just fix aWIEGHT ..say .ie 250 grams or so. hence wat ever the price FALL ORRISE...there will be a fixed approved quantity of GOLD which can bebrought to INDIA via airport. weight of ALLOWABLE GOLD can be arrivedat by COMMON Sense and present day basic needs.and our indianculture.-VERY EAZY why months required then????

HYACINTH MOHAMMED

15 August 2012 16:08jump to comments