Under the amended Customs Baggage Declaration Regulations Indian citizens will no longer be required to fill immigration forms when they return from abroad.
Passengers entering India through its international airports will have to specifically declare Indian currency at the customs if the value exceeds Rs10,000.
Effective from March 1, under the new customs rules, passengers arriving at the country’s 19 international airports, will also have to specifically declare, for the first time, prohibited goods and dutiable items, including gold jewellery and gold bullion exceeding the free allowance.
However, under the amended Customs Baggage Declaration Regulations Indian citizens will no longer be required to fill immigration forms when they return from abroad. They have to fill up the immigration form only when they go out of the country.
In a new detailed form, passengers will have to give details of countries visited in the past six days and mention the passport number on the new customs declaration form.
A notification issued on February 10 by the finance ministry said from March 1, passengers must fill out a new detailed customs form that also asks them to declare number of baggage, including hand baggage.
The new ‘Indian Customs Declaration Form’ will be different from the detachable perforated strip, which is a part of the current immigration card.
For the first time the Declaration Form carries additional fields for declaration of dutiable and prohibited goods, which will help authorities in checking customs duty frauds and keep a record of gold jewellery and bullion being brought into the country.
Old fields like declaration of satellite phone, foreign currency exceeding $5,000 or equivalent, aggregate value of foreign exchange including currency exceeding $10,000 or equivalent, meat, meat products, dairy products, fish or poultry products and seeds, plants, fruits, flowers and other planting material have been retained in the new format.
Male passengers are now allowed to carry gold worth up to Rs50,000 and female passengers twice as much. Non-resident Indians can take foreign exchange, but they have to declare amounts exceeding $5,000 or equivalent or when the total value of foreign exchange (currencies, travellers cheques) exceeds $10,000.
India’s has 19 international airports in Srinagar, Amritsar, Jaipur, Delhi, Ahmedabad, Guwahati, Nagpur, Mumbai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Goa, Bangalore, Chennai, Calicut, Coimbatore,Tiruchirapalli, Cochin, Trivandrum and Port Blair.
In August 2013, the Reserve Bank of India slapped new foreign exchange controls restricting the amount of dollars Indian companies and individuals can spend overseas, and banned people from buying property in foreign countries and imposed fresh curbs on gold imports as part of a strategy to shore up the rupee.
Under amended rules, an individual can spend $75,000 from the earlier $200,000 in any given year. Companies can now invest only up to 100 per cent of their networth in overseas locations, a fourth of the previous level of 400 per cent.