Indians: say no to 'illogical´ tariffs. Court outside investment to save rupee [National, The (United Arab Emirates)]
(National, The (United Arab Emirates) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) DUBAI // Expatriates from India are urging their government to attract investment from citizens working overseas rather than increase import duties and restrictions.
The government and the Reserve Bank of India last week announced measures to curb the rupee´s plummeting value.  ¬ Among these was a steep import duty on flat-screen televisions brought in by airline passengers, and an increase on duty on gold. ¬ But the measures have been criticised by Indians who say they will do nothing to shore up the country´s ailing economy. ¬ S A Salim, the president of the Indian Association in Ras Al Khaimah, said his family had taken 10 TV sets home over the past two years.  ¬ »It is 100 per cent illogical of the government,« he said. »It will not solve anything. It is very upsetting.« ¬ Prof Cedwyn Fernandes, the dean of academic affairs at Emirates College of Technology in Abu Dhabi, said: »That the import of TVs would have an effect on the exchange rate of India is laughable. ¬ »This measure is cosmetic. Raising gold duty will not prop up the rupee either and may have a negative effect, as we will go back to the bad old days of gold smuggling where no duty will be paid.« ¬ From tomorrow, airline passengers will pay a customs duty of 35 per cent on televisions brought into the country. Passengers were previously permitted to take TVs worth up to 35,000 rupees (Dh2,022) into India without paying duty.  ¬ The import duty on gold was raised from 8 to 10 per cent, and the amount of money Indian residents and companies could send abroad was reduced.  ¬ Still, the rupee has continued to slide, plunging to another all-time low of 65 rupees to the United States dollar on Thursday. ¬ Foreign investors have continued to pull funds out of the Indian market.  ¬ Expatriates in the UAE say investment options targeted at non-resident Indians (NRIs) are the way forward.  ¬ »The government can introduce a dollar-denominated bond at attractive interest rates with a three-year minimum lock-in period,« Prof Fernandes said. ¬ »Policies should be put in place to enable outside investment and for NRIs to invest in the education, health, IT, and tourism sectors.« ¬ Sudesh Aggarwal, the chairman of the India trade and exhibition centre in Sharjah, said government measures would have little effect unless long-term decisions were taken to increase exports and attract foreign direct investment. ¬ »These steps only bring uncertainty rather than assurance to the general public, business houses and NRIs,« he said. ¬ »The NRI should be engaged in the development of the nation and embedded in the long-term strategy of nation building.« ¬ More than 3,000 TVs are taken into India daily by air passengers from Dubai, Singapore, Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur, according to an estimate by India´s Consumer Electronics and Appliances Manufacturers Association.  ¬ Indians in the UAE say they take TVs back home because of savings of between 5,000 and 10,000 rupees.  ¬ »People bought TVs for their own homes,« said Abdul Nasser, head of the Kerala Youth Culture Club. ¬ »At the airport, you see 90 per cent of Indians from the UAE with TVs. It was a major saving.« ¬ Anwar Hussain, who works with a Dubai Government firm, said India´s government could invite investment in infrastructure projects such as roads and bridges being built in their own states. ¬ »People will invest in schemes approved by the Reserve Bank of India,« said Mr Hussain, who took a 39-inch TV home to Kerala a few months ago. »NRIs are a huge resource and if there is a creative or productive project at home, people will be interested in investing. ¬ »Not being able to carry LCD TVs into India is not the big problem of life. Expats should not make a hue and cry about this because there are far more serious issues in India. It was an advantage we had and it has been taken away - that´s all.«firstname.lastname@example.org
Duty hikes lead to a rise ingold smuggling, b3
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