Indians call flat-screen TV import duty ‘useless’

Government will gain nothing as people will stop importing TVs, they say

Flat-screen TVs on display
Image Credit: Ahmed Kutty/Gulf News
The Government of India has imposed a 35 per cent customs duty on flat-screen TVs.
53 Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: Saljith Mohan bought a 32-inch LED television worth more than Dh1,000 last week to take to India ahead of his vacation home early next month.

But a Government of India decision to impose a 35 per cent customs duty on flat-screen TVs has posed a problem.

“I cannot pay that much customs duty and I don’t know what to do with this TV because we already have one at our home in Abu Dhabi,” the 34-year-old accountant told Gulf News on Tuesday.

India will impose the new import duty from August 26 to prop up the weak rupee. Mohan said such rules should not be implemented at such short notice.

“The government should have given at least two to three months’ notice before implementing such rules,” he said. He doubted the electronics dealers’ lobby in India had influenced the government to impose the duty.

Roy Mathew, 45, a designer, is also in a similar situation. He bought a 40-inch television worth more than Dh3,000 recently so he could take it home when he goes on vacation. He bought it in advance when there was an offer.

“But I won’t take it to India if the new import duty is in place. If it is not withdrawn before my vacation, I will use it at home here,” Mathew said.

Other Indian expatriates Gulf News spoke to also said people will stop buying televisions from the UAE because of the ruling.

Dheeraj Shetty, 36, a health and safety manager, said even if somebody takes a television to India, it may not benefit the government. A corrupt customs officials could take a bribe to avoid the import duty, he said.

Echoing the same opinion, Aslam Khan, 40, a public relations officer, who has been working in the UAE for around 20 years, said this new regulation will not help the weakened rupee. He said the government should take other concrete measures to save the rupee. He has taken two flat-screen televisions to India in the past.

Mohammad Rafeeq, 35, a sales executive, also said expatriates will stop buying TVs from here.

“I have taken a 47-inch television to India and sent a 42-inch one for my friend last week. But no more.”

The Indian rupee has weakened due to mismanagement on the part of the political class, he said.

“Expatriates are paying the price for it in the form of this customs duty,” Rafeeq said.

V. V. Navas, 33, an engineer, had taken three flat-screen TVs to India for his family members in the past. “Now I will not,” he said.

“All expatriates will think like this and it will end up as a useless regulation,” Navas said.

Meanwhile an expatriate organisation has submitted a memorandum to the Government of India to withdraw the new import duty.

Earlier, Non-resident Indians (NRIs) could carry one flat TV (plasma/LED/LCD) for personal use, worth up to Rs35,000 (Dh2,026) as part of their baggage allowance, without paying any customs duty, the UAE-based Pravasi Bandhu Welfare Trust said.

NRIs remitted more than $70 billion (Dh257 billion) to India last financial year. The foreign currency-starved India government is planning to raise foreign currency bonds from NRIs to overcome the crisis.

Instead of encouraging such NRIs, the Government of India is punishing them by imposing duty on gifts such as flat-screen televisions. Those who are carrying a TV, would have remitted millions of rupees in previous years.

As a courtesy to them the Government of India should permit NRIs to take flat-screen televisions, it said.


  • Sujith

    Aug 21, 2013 6:22

    I would like to congratulate the Government of India for this boldmeasure. Please increase the duty of gold and any luxury items to 100%.

  • khambaty shabbir

    Aug 21, 2013 5:36

    3 points to be made firstly why nris buy here in the gulf the flat tvbecause of the quality and the price, secondly if the govt of Indiawants to put a duty it should have been a reasonable amount like in thegood old days of 1982 Asian games, thirdly very correctly this rulewill be exploited by custom officers at the various airports to demandbribes so I think Indian govt would not benefit any way

  • Ahmed

    Aug 21, 2013 4:41

    WOW. What a move and that too in such a short span. I have never seenany other rule being finalized and implemented so fast. They willcharge us 35% and Exempt taxes in crores if you have hit 100 centuriesor taken a medal in any games. With due respects to all the sportspersons of course. Ridiculous approach. Moreover as per official data,imported TVs are only 10 % of the total share in India.

  • STP

    Aug 21, 2013 3:58

    Well said Mr. Gazi, really an eye opener. Though, I was one of them to take a TV to my in-law's in this December and one later for my home, still I think this is a good move that we must buy such things from there or pay the duty. Rather I met several people visiting Dubai or those who going for vacation are buying TVs from here and sell it inIndia for a higher price. Dear Pravasi Bandhu Welfare Trust, please look into other matters of poor deserving Pravasi's (NRI's), there are a lot more things you can take care of rather than wasting time on this TV import tax, moreover it is not forbidding us to take our preferred TV brand/technology from here to home but encouraging to buyit from India, don't you think it is a constructive idea by a progressive governance? Folks, instead of arguing and crying about this one kindly see the other news in GN about "India food plan to 'make poor self-dependent'" and let us talk about this long waited decision to fight poverty and starvation in our beloved country. I felt guilty that nobody ever commented on it so I've commented for which I believe such a wonderful move and have no parallels in the world.

  • Muhammad Shoaib Ali

    Aug 21, 2013 3:48

    Hello - In case you are wondering this is what is really happening. 1] somoene wants to buy a flat screen T.V. now buys it from India insted of importing it from Dubai...cause it costs overall the same. 2] electronicshops in India make the money insted of the electronic shop in Dubai...most have shops in both countries anyway. 3] someone from Dubai wants to buy a flat screen T.V for his home in India...will not send the money to India so that someone will buy it from which case money is made 2 times. What this does is create more influx of foreign money.

  • Irfat Shafi

    Aug 21, 2013 3:36

    Just Dont send money to india for a month and you will see how rupee will be more weak . and then they will exempt us from all duties...

  • Yogesh Kannan

    Aug 21, 2013 3:26

    I welcome all measures taken by the INDIAN govt. for fixing this trade deficit and arrest the fall in Indian Rupee.. But I have some doubts : 1. An expat (almost 80% of them are in the labour class earning around 1000 to 1500 Dhs/pm. They go on vacation once in 2 years or 3 years and if they are not able to take a Tv to their home then it is really a sad thing. 2. Can the Govt. tell how much they can save by bringing in this duty to LED Tv's. 3. Why not stop costly mobile phones and laptops if it is the real reason. 4. The actual deficits is caused by import of Petrol. (what are the actions Government take to reduce this consumption). All us of see that 100's of cars go as an escort for eventhis small panchayat leaders. So imagine how much escorts car are going for this ministers and Govt. officials. Ban all these escorts not more than 2 vehicles, one in the front and another in the back. Then this fuel import will be reduced by 30%. Fuel lost to bad condition of the roads accounts to nearly 10 to 15% of the fuel consumption. They have to take action on all these before they put a blanket duty on LED tv. Or else they can put duty on people who are coming in tourist visa and buying things in order to sell at a higher cost.

  • anonymous

    Aug 21, 2013 3:10

    Its pathetic that Indian government and its currency depend on the import of flat screen. It's an international joke and embarrassment of NRIs in the whole world. I just don't understand how the flat screen import by the nri's going to lift the Indian currency against Dollar. How about imposing duty on the suitcase if you are not carrying an indigenous one How about shoes,dress, makeup, perfumes come under the duty then we have to use or buy only indigenous so that we can control falling rupee.

  • Muhammed

    Aug 21, 2013 3:05

    customs official will be much happy when implement the new law

  • Ram B

    Aug 21, 2013 2:58

    Dear All Guys, Please dont carry away with this announcement by our government, this is not to bring big income to India, it is just an eye wash to show that they are trying to curb the inflation and currency devaluation.

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Latest Comment

I would like to congratulate the Government of India for this boldmeasure. Please increase the duty of gold and any luxury items to 100%.


21 August 2013 18:57jump to comments