The Government of India has amended the Customs Baggage Declaration regulations to make it mandatory to declare drones in customs forms, for people coming to India. On declaration, users will need to report to the customs officer at the Red Channel counter and are liable to pay duty on the item. The regulation will come into force on the 1st of April.
Drones will be listed under question 10, asking if users are bringing any of the listed items in India. Other than drones, the list contains items like jewellery over free allowance, gold bullions, satellite phone, currency over Rs 10,000 or USD 5,000, and seeds, plants etc., which users are to mark with Yes or No. Users carrying drones will have to fill further forms at the red channel, where the item might either be deemed ineligible for entry in India, or have a duty imposed upon it. It is not clear how much the duty might be.
Carrying drones was one of the last ways Indian enthusiasts could lay their hands on drones. The customs office has regularly held back or destroyed drone shipments citing that they are a threat to security and are banned from flying in India. Up until now, getting someone returning from a foreign country to buy a drone was a safer bet as it did not need to be declared.