Indian gold duty law to be updated at last?

The Indian minister of overseas affairs hopes to change a local law unpopular with Indian expatriates which severely limits the amount of gold they can carry home.

According to the law, a female passenger to India is only allowed to carry Rs20,000 (1,336AED) while a male passenger can carry just half that amount.

At the current gold rate of Rs3,080 (204.93AED) per gram, that means they can carry just 6.5g and 3.25g without customs duty before attracting a 13% tax.

The standard gold chain, earrings and a wedding ring weighs around 25-30g.

The Indian Customs and Central Exercise Rules have not been updated since 1967. Back then, with gold prices at Rs40 (2.66AED) per gram, the rule allowed for 500g and 250g of gold for women and men respectively.

Vayalar Ravi, Indian minister of overseas affairs, told Gulf News the finance minister can amend the rule without it going to the Indian parliament, and said he plans to take it up with finance minister P. Chidambaram.

"I was under the impression that the rule was already amended because I did not receive any complaints from expatriates recently. It was brought to my attention when I reached the UAE," he told the paper.

Ravi also plans to ask for the duty to be based on weight of gold rather than the fluctuating price.