No Ban on Import of Laptops, Tablets; Bringing in New Licensing System: IT Ministry Officials
There will be no ban or restriction on import of laptops, tablets and computers, rather the government has decided to impose a licensing mechanism, officials at the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) clarified on Friday.
The central government, issued a notification on August 3, under which companies or traders can import IT hardware such as laptops, tablets, all-in-one personal computers and ultra-small form factor computers and servers (IT devices) after obtaining a licence.
The Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) has prepared a portal and companies have to apply online to get a licence. As per the officials, companies will have one month to apply for the licence and the DGFT is anticipated to award the licence within one-two days or as early as 5-10 minutes if the details are filled out correctly. As of now, it is expected that a full-year licensing mechanism will be implemented.
PROTECTING DIGITAL NAGRIKS
According to IT Ministry officials, the government is dedicated to ensuring that the internet in India is secure, trustworthy and responsible to all users. It was highlighted that the danger of citizens being exposed to user damages and criminality has grown as the internet has expanded and more Indians get online and various cyber security incidents have also been reported. Based on such incidents, the latest decision has been taken to safeguard the Digital Nagriks.
According to an official: “We are looking to minimize data breaches and issues related to devices that are coming from different geographies. The notification has been brought out by the DGFT, under which companies can import IT hardware, but then we will have some kind of licensing system.”
Another official further clarified that as every citizen is becoming a digital citizen, unless the devices that the people are using are secured, cybersecurity concerns will always be there. Considering such issues, the government has started taking some actions and these import regulations is just the beginning of such initiatives.
Inbuilt security flaws in IT gear, such as hardware backdoors and malware, might jeopardise critical data, owing to which hardware is the cornerstone for security.
PLI 2.0: AUG 30 IS THE DEADLINE
Officials said the government is working simultaneously on multiple areas to make India more self-sufficient in electronics production and IT hardware, for which it has come out with PLI 2.0.
It was said that India has significant capacity and capability for the manufacture of IT hardware products. The initiative is estimated to result in overall output of around Rs 3,29,000 crore, extra investment in electronics manufacturing of Rs 2,740 crore, and the creation of 75,000 new direct employment. It is envisaged that this project would generate economies of scale, and IT hardware components will become more affordable as the scheme progresses.
The PLI 2.0 IT hardware plan has already registered 44 companies, and two companies, including HP Inc., have filed applications on the scheme portal before July 31. Companies have until August 30 to submit applications.
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An IT ministry official stated that the government is expecting big investments in five to six years. The official noted that for some local manufacturers, the government has extended time as they needed to complete the application process.
“The idea is that we should know how many products are coming to India from where and what is our domestic capacity, as well as to use PLI to boost domestic manufacturing,” an official added.
A. Gururaj, Managing Director, Optiemus Electronics, told News18 that the decision has the potential to boost indigenous electronics manufacturing in the country and also help achieve the Make in India vision. “We currently hold the PLI for IT Hardware and are manufacturing laptops for notable brands. With this move, we expect further expansion of our capacity to manufacture these devices.”
Pankaj Mohindroo, Chairman at India Cellular and Electronics Association (ICEA), said: “This policy announcement seems to be based on the premise of providing secure digital access to the burgeoning number of digital citizens in the country. We are confident that valid licences will be provided to trusted industry partners which will enable Ease of Doing Business (EoDB) and unrestricted access to trusted brands for digital consumers.”