New airport rules to curb gold smuggling in India

Given the spate of smuggling, passengers flying into India would have to declare gold jewellery and bullion brought into the country to customs officials at the airports, in new rules defined by the Finance Ministry.

The Indian government has also raised the import tariff value on gold and silver to $421 per 10 grams from $404, and $663 per kilogram from $635 respectively, taking into account the volatility in global bullion prices.

Even as gold jewellery exports slumped 32.8% in January from a year ago period to $482.2 million, smuggling has increased manifold. The new customs rules are to be implemented from March.

Officials said the move is aimed at helping airport authorities check customs duty fraud. More importantly, and for the first time, it is aimed at keeping tabs on gold jewellery and bullion brought into India. India has 19 international airports.

Travellers would also be asked to specifically declare any prohibited articles, gold jewellery over the free allowance, bullion and Indian currency exceeding $161 (Rs 10,000) in the new format.