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International air travel rules changes

New Delhi: The central government has issued a notification stipulating that the companies must hand over the personal information of international air passengers to the customs.

The Union Finance Ministry’s action is aimed at preventing those involved in financial crimes from leaving the country. At the same time, there has been criticism that sharing personal information can be a violation of privacy.

According to the Passenger Name Record (PNR) regulation notified by the Finance Ministry, companies have to hand over the details of air passengers arriving and departing the country to customs twenty-four hours in advance. Information such as name, age, phone number, email ID, etc. should be informed to the customs. The notification also suggests handing over recent travel details and the credit card number used to book the ticket.

Officials point out that collecting information about international travelers is common in many countries and India has joined it. They say PNR is collected in about 60 countries.

Companies have to submit information to customs in a prescribed format. The notification clarifies that this information can be used for any purpose under the Customs Act, including custody, investigation, and prosecution. The ministry also said that this information will be shared with investigative agencies in India and abroad.

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