Courier service warehouse [Representational Image]Reuters

Many Indians in the UAE are wondering when will the gifts they had sent last month, reach their homes in India? Apparently, India's new import rules have left nearly 8,000 Indians in the UAE worried. These Indians mostly include workers and low-income employees, according to reports.

The Indian government imposed an overnight change in import rules which resulted in a 41 percent import duty being imposed on gifts and other goods for personal use, starting July 1. The imposition of import duty caused a delay in delivering the cargo, the head of a courier industry body told Gulf News on Monday.

"Around 250 tonnes of cargo has been held up at the Delhi and Mumbai airports since July 1. Cargo service operators were not in a position to clear about 200 tonnes of cargo at Delhi airport and 50 tonnes at Mumbai airport due to the 41 per cent tax imposed on June 30 without any prior notification," Mohammad Ziad, president of Association of Courier Agents said.

The Association of Courier Agents reportedly represents 64 cargo businesses in the UAE, and also offers services to India.

Zaid said that an average Indian customer sends nearly 30kgs of cargo to India and that the delay has affected more than 8,000 Indians in the UAE.

He added that most of the Indians affected are workers and low-income employees who generally send cargos to their families on special occasions as they can only manage to visit their homes once in two years.

It will be costlier for people in the UAE to send gifts and couriers to IndiaReuters

Before the new import rules, gifts and goods for personal use worth Rs. 20,000 could be sent tax-free thanks to the exemption given by the government as per the notifications issued in 1993.

Zaid told Gulf News that low-income workers used the opportunity often as their 30kg package on average hardly went beyond Rs. 10,000 in value.

However, Indian Ministry of Finance, Department of Revenue released a notification on June 31, stating that it has rescinded the previous notification from 1993. 

The president of the Courier Association said that he does not think any Indian political leadership is behind the imposition of new import rules.

"I don't think this decision was taken by the political leadership. Earlier, only 10,000 rupees worth of gifts and related goods were eligible for duty exemption, but the current central government last year raised it to 20,000 rupees to help ordinary expatriates," Zaid added.