The South Asian Times

20 July 2018 19:53 PM

GST burdens NRIs by withdrawing customs duty exemption

Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor,

GST (Goods and Services Tax) in India was introduced from July 1, 2017, and has been widely hailed. But the Government of India has put a great burden on NRIs as Customs Duty on small gifts that we send to our  friends and relatives living in India.

As per Government of India, Ministry of Finance Notification No. 171/1993-Customs, bona-fide gifts valued up to Rs. 20,000 were exempt from import Customs duty when imported to India as air cargo through any International Courier or Postal service.  

Many of the Pravasis (NRI's) living in different countries across the world, used to send small gifts to their dear and near ones in India through courier services in emergency cases, since they are unable to go and give those gifts personally to them due to different personal constraints. 

Now, on June 30, 2017 Government of India, Ministry of Finance, New Delhi issued Notification No. 27/2017 (by the introduction of GST)  and withdrew  the  Customs duty exemption on Gifts sent by Courier or Mail through Air Cargo, irrespective of their values, and imposed Customs Duty @ 41.184%. 

So now, if we, NRI's send small gifts of food stuffs or chocolates or milk powder or garments or electronic items or toys or anything of that sort to India as air cargo through Courier or Mail, the recipients (our dear and near ones in India) will have to pay huge amount as Customs Duty.

Therefore, it is high time for us as organizations to raise our voice against such havoc created by Government of India by imposing financial burden on NRI's and for withdrawing the facility NRI's were enjoying for the past 25 years.
It is requested that our concerns in this regard may be brought to the notice of the Indian Finance Minister Mr. Arun Jaitley immediately to reconsider the issue during the current Parliament session.  I also implore other Indian community organizations to take up this issue and give it  wide publicity.  

All may voice our concerns by emailing to India’s Finance Minister at: 

Mathewkutty Easow, 
President, Indo American Press Club NY-Tristate Chapter.

Update: 12 Aug, 2017