Giving more freedom to individuals travelling abroad, they may soon be allowed to spend $2 lakh overseas in a year as against the present ceiling of $75,000.

“The RBI may eventually reverse all measure taken to contain CAD and currency fluctuation in July-August last year,” a Finance Ministry official said.

The central bank could raise the limit sometime this year based on its assessment of the external sector, the official said.

As part of restrictions imposed in August last year to contain burgeoning current account deficit (CAD), the Reserve Bank had lowered the outward remittance limit to $75,000 in a financial year for any permitted current or capital account transaction or a combination of both.

The CAD had touched a record high of $88.2 billion or 4.8 per cent of GDP in 2012-13. It, however, is estimated to have come down to below $32 billion or 1.7 per cent of GDP in 2013-14.

The rupee has strengthened to sub—59 level against dollar from a high of nearly 68.85 in August 2013.

This remittance limit was allowed under the condition that the fund should not be used for acquisition of immovable property, directly or indirectly, outside India.

Resident individuals were allowed to use this limit for setting up joint ventures (JV) or wholly-owned subsidiaries outside India.

Last week, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had eased gold import norms by allowing select trading houses, in addition to already permitted banks, to procure the precious metal to boost exports.

The central bank had tied imports with exports and prescribed a 20:80 formula. This facility was available to select banks only and other entities were barred from importing the metal.

(This article was published on May 24, 2014)
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