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Flying abroad? Declare all Jewellery at Airport

MANDATORY RULE Passengers to fill declaration form before departure; officials says move aimed at stop smuggling

Now a smallring or a chain could land you in trouble at the Indira Gandhi International Airport. 

To check gold smuggling, the customs department has come up with a detailed declaration form, which a passenger is required to fill up after arriving at the airport. The new declaration, which has replaced the old form from March 1, has 19 questions as against four.

According to the rule, even 1gm gold is not allowed if the passenger hasn’t declared it. But customs officials say they stop passengers on the basis of profiling and passengers wearing small ornaments are allowed to leave.

“There has to be a method in such cases. If we start stopping everyone, we will end up checking 25,000-30,000 passengers every day. We need to keep a check on smuggling and ensure that passenger is not harassed,” said an official.

Air travellers say this will give a chance to customs to harass passengers. “Indians have a tendency of wearing gold. And customs doesn’t have an appraiser at the Delhi airport, which means to get the evaluation done, you will first have to go to Jhandewalan, which is another problem,” said Prabhat Mishra, a frequent flyer.

In the new form, there are more specific queries so that a passenger has to declare everything he/ she is carrying.

Jewellery is the most important item and passenger has to tick ‘yes’ on the form if he/she is carrying jewellery. “In that case the passenger cannot exit through the green channel and has to stop at the counter,” the official added.

However, a female passenger who has stayed outside India for six months is allowed to carry gold worth ` 1 lakh. For male passenger the limit is ` 50, 000.

Apart from asking basic questions such as countries visited in last six days and total value of goods being imported, customs has put nine more questions: ‘Are you bringing the following items into India?’ “In those nine questions, passenger has to declare if he/she is carrying gold jewellery, gold bar, meat products, satellite phone and Indian or foreign currency,” the official added.

Hindustan Times, New Delhi, 22-03-2014

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