Drones, which are being considered a major security risk as they could be used by terror groups for mounting assaults, have been included in the prohibited list and flyers entering India will have to declare them from April 1.
The government has decided to revise ‘Indian Customs Declaration Form’ to include drones in the list of prohibited and dutiable goods and made it mandatory for the passengers to declare.
Drones are generally imported by government agencies for use by the security personnel in maintaining law and order as well as ensuring vigil along the international borders and line of control with Pakistan, Bangladesh and China. They have also been used for surveillance in Naxal-hit areas. The need for all flyers to fill the customs form upon their arrival has been done away with and those who carry dutiable or prohibited goods alone will have to fill it in, as per the new rules.
Foreigners’ duty free allowance has also been increased to Rs. 15,000 from the existing limit of Rs. 8,000.
The duty free allowance of cigarettes, cigars and tobacco has been doubled and people will be able to bring in 200 sticks of cigarettes, 50 cigars and 250gm of tobacco.
The NDA government had in July 2014 halved the duty free allowance to 125 cigarettes, 25 cigars and 125gm of tobacco, which is continuing till date. There has been no change in duty-free import of two litres of alcoholic liquor or wines.
The limit to bring duty-free goods worth Rs. 6,000 for passengers of Indian origin and coming from China has also been taken away. However, the free allowance for people coming from Nepal, Bhutan and Myanmar has been increased to Rs. 15,000, more than two times of the limit of Rs. 6,000 at present.
The increase in allowance will be applicable for journey by air. Those coming to India from land borders will not be able to get any amount of free allowance.