Gold-hungry traders tap Indians living abroad

Non-resident Indians are bringing gold into the country by taking advantage of rules that allow each individual to carry 1kg of the metal, helping traders cope with restrictions on imports during the peak wedding season.

India, vying with China to be the top buyer of gold, has choked imports to narrow its trade gap and curb the outflow of dollars. The measures included raising the import duty to a record 10 per cent and making it mandatory to export as jewellery 20 per cent of all gold imports.

But non-residents who have stayed abroad for more than six months can bring in gold on payment of the import duty, irrespective of end use. Such is the demand that some traders are paying passengers’ air fares if they agree to carry gold.