NRI alert: India bans duty-free import of TVs from Gulf, elsewhere (Update)

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Indian government imposes 35% duty on such imports besides other charges

The plunge in the Indian rupee was, so far, good news for expat Indians, but it has now started taking its toll.

Non-resident Indians (NRIs) and those on a holiday to the Gulf or anywhere else in the world will no longer be able to carry a duty-free flat panel TV with them back home from next week, with the Indian government imposing a punishing 35 per cent duty on such imports besides other charges.

The sagging rupee has plunged to a fresh lifetime low, under the Rs17-level against the UAE dirham and below the Rs63-mark against the US dollar.

Using the declining rupee as a pretext, Indian government yesterday gave in to the long-standing demand of local TV retailers and banned duty-free import of flat-screen television sets by air travellers.

According to Indian government estimates, more than 1 million TV sets were brought into the country last year, with Dubai, Bangkok and Singapore as the primary sources.

Earlier, NRIs and other airline passengers could carry one piece of flat TV (plasma/LED/LCD) for personal use, worth up to Rs35,000 (Dh2,100) as part of their baggage allowance, without incurring any customs duty on the same.

However, from next Monday (August 26), that will no longer be the case as India has issued a moratorium on the scheme, citing the declining Indian rupee. As per the new rules announced yesterday, passengers will have to pay a 35 per cent duty and other charges, officials said.

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