The Indian Consulate in Dubai has passed on recommendations for a revision of the import duty on gold taken into the country from abroad.
Customs departments at all major entry points into the country has been strictly enforcing a 1998 law that does not permit those travelling into the country to carry more than six grammes of gold.
Speaking to journalists during a visit to the Emirates24|7 offices on Sunday morning, Sanjay Varma, India’s Consul General in Dubai and the Northern Emirates, said he hopes the restriction on gold is revised.
“We expect it to be revised. We have passed on the recommendation sent by various Indian community organisations and expatriate groups in Dubai and the Northern Emirates,” Varma said.
Current rules permit a male traveller to carry only three grammes of gold and a female traveller is allowed not more than six grammes, unless they pay the additional duty.
The actual rule stipulates that gold worth Indian rupees (Rs) 10,000 and Rs20,000 can be carried by male and female passengers entering the country.
With a sharp increase gold prices during the recent years, the permitted quantity of yellow metal has drastically reduced.
While a gramme of gold was priced at Indian rupees 393.62 on August 12, 1998 today it is priced at Rs2879 per gramme.
A male passenger who could carry almost 25.4 grammes of gold in 1998 is today allowed only three grammes.
A female passenger on the other hand could carry about 50 grammes on gold when the customs rule was first passed.
Meanwhile, a Dubai-based Indian Welfare organisation, which started an online petition, is gaining momentum with 1833 signatures in nine days.
The petition dated August 3, 2012 and addressed to the new Finance Minister of India P Chidambaram requests the half a decade old law to be replealed.
“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 gramme. In 1960 a male passenger could bring 250 grammes of gold and a lady passenger could bring 500 gramme of gold without paying tax with Rs 10,000 and Rs 20,000,” The says the petition signed by K V Shamsudheen, Chairman of Pravasi Bandhu Welfare Trust.
“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,” the petition adds.
It has requested the Indian government to permit male non-resident Indians to take at least 100 grammes of gold and women to be allowed to take 200gm without duty.