If no dutiable items, fill no custom form

The rule on filling baggage declaration forms is no more mandatory, which will save international passengers’ time and the cost of production

Good news for international passengers! You won’t have to waste any time filling the baggage declaration form if you don’t have any dutiable items. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced this tweak in Baggage Declaration Rules 2016 in the Budget on Tuesday that will also save the money spent on producing these forms.

Entering the green channel without declaring the dutiable items (if any) will stand for a fine. Pic/Thinkstock
Entering the green channel without declaring the dutiable items (if any) will stand for a fine. Pic/Thinkstock

This change, which will be effective from April 1, will bring down the number of such forms collected at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport every night, which is around 13,000 currently.

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.

The 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. Everybofy filling the form never made sense since a smuggler never declares the goods. 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?” said a Mumbai Customs official.

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. A top customs official said even in the US till date filling this form is a mandatory rule, which makes India the first one to take such a step.

Did you know?
Annually 50 lakh baggage declaration forms are printed for Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport alone.

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