Indian Govt to delay implementation of laptop and tablet import ban

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Good news for the electronics industry comes from the government’s decision to postpone the plan to restrict laptop and tablet imports by three months. Companies have until October 31 to apply for the license to import devices, according to a government statement.

An industry request to postpone the new import license order by three to six months was under review, a government official earlier in the day told Reuters.

The government did not justify the measure, which might have an impact on technology firms like Apple, Dell, and Samsung and could lead to them boosting local production.

Proposed Licensing Requirements for Laptop Imports

Two representatives from the IT Ministry asserted that licensing requirements would enable the government to assess the volume of laptop imports and the top exporting nations. However, the Commerce Ministry keeps track of this information as part of its export-import data bank.

China is the nation that exports the majority of laptops and computers to India. In 2022–2023, India imported laptops and personal computers worth a total of $5.33 billion from the adjacent nation. Some government officials also claimed that the licensing requirement will improve the nation’s cyber security infrastructure.

A senior IT Ministry official was asked about how it could help them determine whether a certain laptop was a potential threat to security. “You are aware of the security situation, it is on the news every day.”

According to Rajeev Chandrasekhar, deputy minister of information technology and electronics, the action was taken to “ensure trusted hardware and systems” and reduce the dependence on imports.

Earlier in the day, his ministry gave assurances that the government will issue licenses promptly and prevent supply gaps in the market.

It said that New Delhi will issue company licenses for the importation of laptops and tablets in two days. Licenses are available online.

Companies will need to disclose details about the consignment’s origin, the quantity, and its prior import history to apply for the licenses.

Editing was done by Jane Merriman, Tomasz Janowski, and Arun Koyyur; Additional reporting was done by Nikunj Ohri, Aftab Ahmed, and Mrinmay Dey.

A section of the government is not entirely convinced with the decision. “Given the push for digitalization and efforts to go notches up in the Ease of Doing Business index, this signals a move away from reforms. The decision does not go well with the government’s larger promise of doing away with license raj or increased bureaucracy or discretionary powers that delay the availability of products,” said a government source, who did not wish to be identified.

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