Passengers flying into India will not have to fill the Customs Declaration Form if they are not carrying dutiable or prohibited goods.
The rule on filling baggage declaration forms is no more mandatory, which will save international passengers’ time and the cost of production.
Earlier, every international passenger had to fill this form but now this new rule states that only passengers who “intend to declare” dutiable items/prohibited items need to fill the “little customs form” on arrival.
Rest can just enter green channel and walk out. However, entering the green channel without declaring the dutiable items (if any) will stand for a fine. This change will be effective from 1 April 2016.
Passengers, officials welcome the decision
Along with the passengers, Custom officials have also welcomed the decision.
“We are happy that the mandatory baggage declaration form will soon be done away with. A passenger has to either fill the form in the aircraft or at the airport. Everybody filling the form never made sense since a smuggler never declares the goods,” a Mumbai Customs official told Mid Day daily.
“Then why should the forms be first distributed to all the airlines, then to all the passengers then be collected by us only to say that they were carrying nothing?” he asked.
Moreover, maintaining a record of these forms is a tedious task. “The forms are printed in Delhi, then supplied to all the 38 international airports in the country, which isn’t required,” he added.
Saving time and money
“The Customs Baggage Declaration Regulations, 2013, are being amended to provide that baggage declaration will have to be filed only by passengers who carry dutiable or prohibited goods,” Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said in his Budget speech for 2016-17.
Jaitley pointed out that this tweak in Baggage Declaration Rules 2016 will also save the money spent on producing these forms.
Further, the government has substituted the existing Baggage Rules, 1998, with 2016 rules to simplify and rationalise multiple slabs of duty-free allowance for various categories of passengers.
This post was originally published on 2 March 2016.