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India offers a ‘transition period’ before placing import curbs on laptops, PCs

Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology Rajeev Chandrasekhar on Friday said that there will be a “transition period” for restrictions imposed on importing IT hardware like laptops etc.

According to a Reuters report, the government report will give at least one month of time before implementing the new norms.

Chandrasekhar also explained the rationale behind imposing curbs on select IT hardware items. He said, “It is govts objective to ensure trusted hardware and systems, reduce import dependance and increase domestic manufacturing of this category of products. It is about regulating imports to ensure trusted and verifiable systems and ensuring India tech ecosystem uses trusted and verified systems only that are imported and/or domestically manufactured trusted systems / products.”

Chandrasekhar’s comments come as a breather to the IT hardware industry, including laptop and computer makers.

On Thursday, the Indian government announced a curb on importing laptops, tablets, and personal computers with an immediate effect.

“Import of Laptops, Tablets, All-in-one Personal Computers, and Ultra small form factor Computers and Servers falling under HSN 8741 shall be ‘Restricted’ and their import would be allowed against a valid Licence for Restricted Imports,” the notification read.

There are a few exemptions as well. For instance, the restriction does not apply to imports under baggage rules. Import of 1 laptop, tablet, all-in-one personal computer, or ultra-small form factor computer, including those purchased from e-commerce portals, through post or courier are exempted from the import licensing rules.

There’s also an exemption on up to 20 such devices per consignment for research and development, testing, benchmarking, evaluation, repair, and re-export, among others.

Industry experts say the move is not very surprising considering India’s efforts to push local manufacturing. But they also warned of a brief disruption in the industry.

“…this restriction may lead to some short-term supply disruptions, especially for brands like Apple, HP, and Lenovo. Moreover, with the festive season approaching, a significant period for sales, the industry may face challenges in meeting demand,” Tarun Pathak, Research Director at CounterPoint Research, said in a statement.

“…India has made remarkable progress in achieving almost 100% local manufacturing for smartphones and TVs, but the IT hardware segment has lagged behind, with only 30-35% of products currently being Made in India…,” he added.

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