August 3, 2012
Shri Palaniappan Chidambaran
Hon’ble Minister of Finance
Government of India
Customs department at the Indian International airports have displayed a notice saying that as per the customs rule, passengers travelling to India are allowed to bring only Rs 10,000 and Rs 20000 worth of gold for male and female passengers respectively. Passengers have to declare and pay duty if he or she has the excess amount worth of gold.
As per the current market value of gold, a male could bring three grams of gold and lady only six grams. The weight of a wedding ring for male passenger and a mangalysoothra of the lady passenger will be much more than this limit. Under the present circumstances a passenger has to pay tax for his wedding ring and mangalyasoothra.
I have witnessed custom officials interrogating passengers and some of them are paying tax while some are keeping their excess gold with the official custody of Airport Customs and taking the same back while returning to the foreign country. Some news paper report are saying customs officials are taking bribe and freeing passengers.
The law that is being implemented now is half a century old, that time the gold price was Rs 40 for a gram. In 1960 a male passenger could bring 250grams of gold and a lady passenger could bring 500gm of gold without paying tax with Rs 10,000 and Rs 20,000.
The same law permits a passenger to carry 200 cigarettes and two litter spirits without paying customs duty these measured by quantity not by value like gold.
When this issue was brought to the notice of officials of Ministry of Finance by the Indian expatriates and media during their tour to the GCC countries for the Qualified Foreign Investor road show, they said that India had imported record quantity of Gold for domestic consumption which has led to the reintroduction of this duty.
When a non-resident Indian brings gold to the country government is getting sufficient gold without the loss of foreign currency paid for its import. Instead of encouraging NRI’s to bring gold to the country the reintroduction of half a century old law will be to harass the non resident Indians.
We request Finance Minister to intervene in this issue and permit non resident Indians to bring at least 100 of Gold by male passengers and 200 gm of gold by female passengers without paying tax.
Recent introduction of various taxes to non-residents will lead to loss of trust on government and increased negative sentiment, that too when the country badly needs foreign currency.
With warm regards
For PRAVASI BANDHU WELFARE TRUST
K V Shamsudheen