Kochi, Jan 7 (IANS) The 11th edition of the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) saw state Minister for Non-Resident Keralites Affairs K.C. Joseph assuring representatives of the Kerala diaspora that he would discuss with the central government various issues raised by them.
Joseph touched upon issues like the scrapping of the customs rules which limits the quantity of gold that an air traveller can bring home.
Male passengers can carry gold worth Rs.10,000 and women passengers are allowed to carry gold worth Rs.20,000.
"If anyone brings in more gold than allowed, they are subject to paying duties. This rule should be scrapped and female passengers should be allowed to carry 100 gm and male passengers 50 gm of gold," Joseph said at the special Kerala session.
He assured the diaspora that the Kerala government would soon launch the proposed Air Kerala project.
"We are aware of the difficulties that the diaspora face, especially when it comes to airfares. We will be starting our own airline at any cost," Joseph said.
Last month, Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy had said that Air Kerala will be airborne Apr 14.
Joseph also spoke about the Kerala diaspora's demand to strengthen the staff strength of Malayalee speaking officials at Indian embassies in the Middle-East countries.
This was the first time that a special Kerala session was held at the PBD.
The official opening of the 11th PBD will be Jan 8 when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh inaugurates it. President Pranab Mukherjee will give away the PBD awards Wednesday.