New Delhi: The government may remove the requirement for a mandatory licence to import laptops, personal computers, and tablets. Instead, companies may only need to register on a portal to import these items, the New Indian Express reported, quoting industry sources.
The government has also suggested the possibility of providing a one-year grace period for importing these products, the newspaper reported.
The daily quoted industry sources as saying that the “import management system” portal, which will be managed by the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT), is expected to go live by the end of the month.
“We raised concerns about the sudden import ban on these items. However, the government indicated that it may extend the deadline by another year. Now, we don’t need to seek any licences but only need to register. During this period, companies can import as much quantity as they want,” a source told the daily.
The government had on August 3 banned imports of personal computers without a license with immediate effect. The move was aimed at preventing Chinese imports from flooding Indian markets and to promote local manufacturing. However, while taking this decision, it seemed to have not considered that 80% of the devices sold in India are imported.
Later in the day, it clarified that there was no ban, but electronic manufacturing companies needed a licence to import these items starting from November 1, 2023. The Minister of State, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, again clarified that it was not licencing but an import management system that would be put in place.
“I accept that there was a communication gap; it was never meant to be a licencing requirement. Today, we are meeting with industry representatives and sharing a draft of the import management system. Its aim is to address the high dependency on sources that are not verified and trusted,” Chandrasekhar told the newspaper on September 23, at the ceremony for Micron Technology’s semiconductor testing and assembly plant in Gujarat’s Sanand.
Under the credit-based system, manufacturers will be assessed on three criteria: their past year’s imports, progress on domestic manufacturing of IT hardware products, and exports from India. Based on their performance on these parameters the government will allot them credit points which can be used to import laptops and other IT hardware products, the Financial Express reported.
The newspaper explained the process with the help of an example. “Apple and Samsung have not applied for the production-linked incentive scheme for IT hardware for domestic manufacturing but are making mobile phones in the country under the smartphone PLI and are exporting in huge numbers. The credit points which will accrue to them due to this will ensure that their import continues smoothly,” it said.