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Watch on gold imports

New Delhi, March 6 (PTI): Indian passengers bringing gold into the country can be asked to reveal the source of funds for purchase of the metal and their air tickets, according to new rules unveiled to check smuggling of the precious metal.

According to a revenue department circular, the baggage receipt issued by customs will now include the engraved serial number on gold bars and an item-wise list of ornaments.

“Wherever possible, the field officer may ascertain the antecedents of such passengers, source of funding for gold, as well as duty being paid in foreign currency, person responsible for booking of tickets, etc.,” the circular said, adding the decision is aimed at preventing misuse of gold import facility.

The norms have been tightened following “a spurt in import” of gold by eligible passengers through various airports.

The customs apprehend that some unscrupulous elements are smuggling gold by hiring eligible passengers to import the metal on their behalf.

Eligible passengers — People of Indian Origin or Indians returning home after staying abroad for six months — are allowed to bring in up to 1kg of gold after paying 10 per cent customs duty in foreign currency.