Paying Customs Duty, Indian Chess Olympiad Team Gets Gold Medals

Chennai:  The FIDE Online Olympiad gold medals for the Indian chess team have finally arrived and the delivery was taken after paying customs duty, said the team’s non-playing captain Grandmaster (GM) Srinath Narayanan.

Normally, customs duty is exempted for Indian sportspersons returning from overseas after winning medals in international sporting events.

“The Indian team comprised 13 members, including me. Today I got 12 medals and paid customs duty of Rs 6,200 for all the medals. I paid the courier company DHL which had already paid the duty,” Narayanan told IANS.

According to Narayanan, GM Pentala Harikrishna got his medal last month as he lives outside India.

Narayanan said the global chess body, FIDE, will reimburse the players the cost of receiving the medals, including the customs duty. He said the 12 medals reached India from Russia in three days, but took more than a week to reach Bengaluru. Narayanan is now forwarding the medals to the other players.

The victorious Indian chess team consisted of Vidit Santosh Gujrathi (captain), Viswanathan Anand, Pentala Harikrishna, Koneru Humpy, Dronavalli Harika, Aravindh Chithambaram, Nihal Sarin, R. Praggnanandhaa, R. Vaishali, Bhakti Kulkarni, Divya Deshmukh, Vantika Agarwal and Srinath Narayanan.

India and Russia shared the gold as they were declared joint winners of the FIDE Online Olympiad.

The decision to declare India and Russia as joint winners was taken by FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich after an appeal made by India which sadi three of its players were disconnected from the server.

The moot question is should customs duty be levied on medals won by sportspersons?

A senior customs department official told IANS that under Notification No. 41/17-Cus dated 30.6.2017, complete exemption is eligible for Indians returning from abroad after winning medals in international matches/tournaments.

So, will the players get a refund now?

By Venkatachari Jagannathan

(IANS)