Govt moves to limit duty-free alcohol to 1 bottle


International Travelers from India soon may be allowed to take just a one litre of duty-free alcohol while returning from an overseas trip. At present tourists are allowed to take two litres of duty-free alcohol.

Not only that duty free Not only that, cigarettes and cigars may altogether go off the duty-free shelves shelves at airports.

The commerce and industry ministry has proposed to reduce imports of non-essential items and if the proposals prepared by the commerce ministry has accepted, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman could announce the same in the in the upcoming Union budget on 1 February.

“This is part of our drive to reduce unnecessary imports. We have also recommended to the finance ministry a hike in duties on 200 items we consider non-essential,” a commerce ministry official said on condition of anonymity.


The proposals are aimed toward boosting India’s manufacturing exports to make more jobs and limit non-essential imports to narrow its deficit with countries like China.

An official of the Association of private Airport Operators said that contrary to the commerce ministry’s move, the association in its budget proposal to the finance ministry had asked the govt to extend the cap on liquor purchases in duty-free shops from 2 litres to 4 litres. “We are competing with duty-free shops in Malaysia, Dubai and Singapore. If travellers are getting to buy from other duty-free shops, we are the losers. Government should worry about people buying at duty-free shops in other countries, not in India,” he said on condition of anonymity.

The association has also proposed doubling the luggage allowance at a duty-free shop in India from ₹50,000 at the present to ₹1 lakh, which could lead on to increased foreign exchange earnings.

Duty-free shops are licensed as a “private warehouse’ under Section 58 of the Customs Act, 1962. during a report released in 2017, Bengaluru-based RedSeer Consulting estimated that India’s duty-free market could quadruple to $800 million by 2025 from $200 million during the survey year, fuelled by “rising spending power of the center class, increasing foreign tourist arrivals, and high-growth phase of Indian airports”.


The report said the Indian duty-free market is different from its peers, as 80% of the consumers are locals.

“Pre-orders are most famous for these Indian travellers. The customer places an order before leaving for a foreign destination and therefore the order is delivered on his/her return at 5-10% discount. it’s cheaper, saves the passenger from carrying extra luggage and reduces shopping time after an exhausting trip,” said the report.

(Source: Live Mint)

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