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Customs to ask passengers about source of fund for buying gold
March, 07th 2014

Seeking to check gold smuggling by courier, the government today tightened baggage rules requiring inbound Indian passengers to provide details like source of funds for importing the metal as well as their air tickets.

According to a Revenue Department circular, the baggage receipt issued by Customs will now include the engraved serial number on gold bars and item-wise list of ornaments.

"Wherever possible, the field officer, may ascertain the antecedents of such passengers, source for funding for gold as well as duty being paid in the foreign currency, person responsible for booking of tickets, etc," it said, adding, the decision is aimed at preventing misuse of the gold import facility.

The Customs say that some people are smuggling gold by hiring eligible passengers to import gold on their behalf.

The norms have been tightened following "a spurt in import" of gold by eligible passengers through various airports in the recent past across the country.

Eligible passengers are allowed to be import gold up to 1 kg by paying 10 per cent customs duty in foreign currency.

Eligible passenger means persons of Indian origin or an Indian returning to India after a period of 6 months of stay abroad.

Both the government and Reserve Bank had been expressing concern over spurt in gold import following the curbs which were imposed to reduce the widening current account deficit (CAD).

The curbs included higher import duty (10 per cent) and linking the imports to exports under the 20:80 scheme of RBI.

The restrictions have paid desired results as gold imports fell significantly and also the CAD is expected to be below $45 billion this fiscal against all-time high of $88.2 billion in 2012-13.

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