Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley ups duty free allowance to INR 45,000

By Charlotte Turner |

Earlier this month, Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced in his 2014-2015 Union Budget speech, that the duty free personal allowance for arriving passengers will be increased from INR 35,000 (rupees) to INR 45,000.

 

“The free baggage allowance under the baggage rules was last revised in 2012,” said Jaitley. “As a measure of passenger facilitation, I propose to increase the free baggage allowance from INR 35,000 to INR 45,000.”

 

A.S.Lal, CEO of Kreol Travel Retail says that the duty free allowance for arriving passengers should be raised to US$1,000 and that right now – due to the limited allowance – inbound passengers buy products in departing countries meaning India must lose out.

 

According to Lal, APTRA has been advocating an increase to INR 60,000. “If the customer wants to purchase more than the allowed amount, we have to inform the customs department,” adds Lal.

 

DEALING WITH CONFUSION AND CUSTOMER AGGRESSION

“The ensuing complicated documentation irritates customers to the point that they often get aggressive with shop staff because departing airports did not ask them these questions nor place any restrictions on quantities purchased. Every time such an incident takes place, the customer angrily vows not to come back to the shop.”

 

Lal says that duty free operations play a major role in providing income to airports and in creating jobs. “Once a dead industry managed by the government-owned ITDC, India’s duty free industry was revived by its opening up to private investment,” he continues.

 

“If we look at the data of departure shop sales at airports in the region, Indian passengers spend much more abroad than at the arrivals shops in Indian airports.

 

“Yet duty free outlets at airports in India today have got competitive pricing and product assortments. Excellent ambience and attention to customer requirements are commendable qualities at India’s duty free shops. Our key issue now is the limit on purchases. Indian airport arrival shops generate more sales than their departure stores; which is clear evidence to improve the allowance and support the industry.”

 

Lal says he appreciates APTRA’s efforts to appeal to all stakeholders in a collaborative push to increase allowances further. “I sincerely hope the Honorable Finance Minister considers our request to support the industry.”

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