Kerala diaspora protests move to levy duty on TV sets
The Kerala diaspora is up in arms over the proposed moratorium on a scheme that allowed free import of television sets worth up to Rs.35,000 without payment of any customs duty.
The new rules come into effect from Aug 26 from when anyone bringing in a TV set will have to pay a 35 percent duty. The central government has decided to levy this duty on account of the depreciating Indian rupee.
In a letter addressed to union Commerce Minister Anand Sharma, chairman of the Pravasi Bandhu Welfare Trust (PBWT) K.V. Shamsudheen pointed out that non-resident Indians remitted home more than USD 70 billion last financial year.
"Instead of encouraging such NRIs, government of India is trying to punish them by imposing duty on gifts like LCD TVs. Those who are carrying a TV would have remitted millions of rupees in previous years. As a courtesy, the government of India should permit NRIs to take LCD TVs duty free, as of now, for personal use," Shamsudheen's letter said.
The PBWT, registered in Kozhikode, has members from across the state who are working in various countries of the Middle East. The forum guides members and helps those in the NRI community who might be in need.
"The government should introduce a scheme for NRIs where one can pay the duty-free value in foreign currency and get TV and household equipment like refrigerator or washing machines. These items should be made available in duty-free shops at international airports and purchases made should be endorsed in the passports, so that this facility is not misused," Shamsudheen suggested.
(Posted on 22-08-2013)