The Finance Ministry has added a condition in the rule for importing pets by a passenger.
A circular, dated April 8, of the Central Board of Excise and Custom’s (CBEC) said, “It has been decided to allow import of two pet animals as baggage only to persons transferring their residence to India after two years of continuous stay abroad in terms of Baggage Rules 1998.” Of course conditions such as production of health certificate from the country of origin and examination by Quarantine Officers here remain in place.
The new circular also mentioned that the general import of pet animals would continue to be governed by Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) rules. For such import, the person concerned will have to get licence from DGFT and follow the rules framed by various ministries.
The new rule will come into effect from April 15. With this, there will be modification in a circular issued on December 23, 2002. The original circular said that import of pets up to two numbers per passenger may be allowed at one time subject to the production of the required health certificate from the country of origin and examination of the same by the concerned Quarantine officer.
The new conditions have been added after allegation of people returning with exotic breed of dogs and cats and showing them as pets, which are then sold at hefty prices to animal lovers here.
Experts believe that with the new norms, only people who had dogs and cats as pets when they lived abroad will be brought back to India.