What every Indian should know about customs laws

The purpose of Customs Law is to control the flow of goods, transports and personal effects into (Import) and out (Export) of a country. Every country has its own laws and regulation on Import and Export which is enforced by its customs authority.

Controlling of Import and Export is being exercised by imposing customs duties. In India, Custom duty is governed by the Customs Act, 1962 and the Customs tariff act, 1975.

A basic requirement to do the Import and Export business is to obtain the Import and Export Code (IEC). But, the same is not required, if you do import or export of any goods for personal use which is not connected with trade, manufacture and agriculture. It is not necessary for importers and exporters to be directly involved in the process. There are some custom brokers or agencies who are licensed for carrying out the import and export business and they will take full responsibility of clearing the goods from the custom authority by following the procedures and paying the required duties. The list of recognised custom agents can be found on the website of the customs department.

The Custom authority has classified the goods in different categories for the purpose of Import / Export under Indian Trade Classification system. The goods are classified broadly in three categories as follows:

  • Free Goods:-

The goods classified under this category are duty-free.

  • Prohibited Goods:-

The goods classified under this category are strictly prohibited.

  • Restricted Goods:-

The goods classified under this category are permitted subject to the guidelines placed by the authority.

Before you do any import/export every Indian should know about the regulations made by the India Customs.

The following are the regulations made by India Custom on Importing and exporting the goods categorically:

  • Free Imports: (No goods are classified under Free Export) 
  • Authorized personal goods
  • Cigarettes up to 200 number
  • Cigar up to 50 number
  • Other tobacco products up to 250 gram
  • Wines or alcoholic beverages up to 2 litres
  • Perfume up to 59ml
  • Toiletries up to 250 ml
  • Foreign currency can be imported sums equalling USD 10,000 in local currency.

Apart from the goods, the Indian travellers need to be aware of that, Indian residents going on or returning from a holiday abroad can freely take or bring in up to INR 25000.

  • Prohibited Imports / Exports

The following items are prohibited from entering or leaving the country unless under certain limitations or circumstances:

  • Banned drugs
  • Pornographic material
  • Endangered plants
  • Deadly Weapons and knives
  • Counterfeit money
  • Birds and bird products (eggs and feathers)
  • Pigs and pig meat products
  • Radio transmitters
  • Culturally important or valuable antiques

 The following are prohibited however the same can be imported with prior permission:

  • Firearms and ammunition
  • Pets and other live animals
  • Plants and plant products
  • Restricted Imports (No goods are classified under Restricted Export) 
  • Species of wildlife including ivory, musk and animal skins
  • Unless taken by a native of the country, Indian currency is expressly prohibited from leaving India.

Further, every Indian should understand the impact of import/export on Country’s economy. Imports represent the outflow of funds from the country since the payments are made by Indian to the overseas entity. So the imports are considered as a drag on the economy which directly affects the country’s GDP. If imports exceed exports then the nation’s GDP would be negative and would cause for the trade deficit.

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