The re-introduced rule states that NRIs could bring only gold or jewellery worth Rs.10,000 for men and Rs.20,000 for women. Passengers have been asked to declare the gold in their possession at the airport and pay duty on the excess quantity. The customs department had also displayed the notice at all international airports, K.V. Shamsudheen, chairman, Sharjah-based, Pravasi Bandhu Welfare Trust, said.

Memorandum

In a memorandum submitted to the Prime Minister, Mr. Shamsudheen said the Centre should permit NRIs to bring at least 100 gm of gold by male passengers and 200 gm of gold by female passengers without paying tax. The law that is being implemented now was more than 50 years old when the prices of gold were Rs.40 a gm. “In 1960, a male passenger could bring 250 gm of gold and a female passenger could bring 500 gm of gold without paying tax,” he said.

Mr. Shamsudheen told The Hindu that as per the law now, men were allowed to bring only three gm of gold and women six gm. “The weight of a wedding ring for a male and a ‘mangalysoothra’ for a woman will be higher than this limit. Subsequently passengers will have to pay tax for the wedding ring and mangalyasoothra,” he said.

Officials attached to the Ministry of Finance said the duty had been re-introduced as India had imported record quantity of gold for domestic consumption. The issue was raised by Indian expatriates during the tour of the officials to the Gulf Cooperation Countries nations recently.

Mr. Shamsudheen said that recent introduction of various taxes to non-residents would lead to loss of trust on government and increased negative sentiment, that too, when the country badly needed foreign currency. When an NRI brought gold to the country, the government would get sufficient gold without the loss of foreign currency paid for its import, he said.

Harassment threat

Instead of encouraging expatriates to bring gold to the country, the re-introduction of half-a-century-old law had resulted in harassing NRIs at airports. Now custom officials interrogated passengers forcing them to pay tax. Others maintained the excess gold with the official custody of Airport Customs and take them back while returning to the foreign country, Mr. Shamsudheen said.

News, source and credits to : The Hindu.
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