NRIs can carry more gold soon: Minister moves ‘quantity rule’ rather than value tax

Travellers to India continue to strip themselves of gold ornaments as the country’s government is yet to announce any new amendment on customs duty.

Currently an Indian law dating back to the 1960s states that women travellers are supposed to pay tax for carrying gold valued more than Rs20,000 (Dh1,379). For men the limit is further reduced by 50 per cent.
A senior Indian minister has now assured that his government is considering a change to the law.
Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi said the limit should be based on the quantity of the yellow metal rather than the price.
Today gold (22K) is priced at Dh194 per gram while 24K gold is selling at 207. Current rules permit a male traveller to carry about three grams of gold, given the current value and six grams for a female traveller, unless they pay the additional duty.
In comparison, a passenger could carry at least two kilograms of gold by paying Rs20,000 when the Indian Customs and Central Excise Rules was framed in 1967.
Ravi who was in Dubai recently said he would once again raise the issue with the Indian finance minister P Chidambaram. According to him it would only require a ministerial decision to bring about the amendment.
Indians living abroad especially the Gulf have been campaigning for a raise in the limit of gold (to at least 100grams) they are allowed to carry when travelling to India.
Joseph George
November 20, 2012
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