No restriction on import of laptops, computers: Commerce secretary

On August 4, the government announced ban on laptops, all-in-one personal computers, and tablets.
=Representational Image
=Representational Image

NEW DELHI:  Commerce secretary Sunil Barthwal has denied having any restrictions on import of laptop and personal computers. He said India will not impose restrictions on laptop imports, and that the government only wants importers to keep close watch while importing these goods.

The statement by the secretary comes as a big relief for tech giants like Dell, HP, Apple, Samsung and Lenovo.  Companies will not be required to seek licences to import these items. All they will have to do is register themselves under the “import management system” on a portal, which will be managed by the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT).

On August 4, the government announced ban on laptops, all-in-one personal computers, and tablets. Later in the day, it clarified that there was no ban, but electronic manufacturing companies needed a licence to import these items starting November 1, 2023. The government said the purpose of the decision was to encourage the companies to start production in India.

Later the government clarified that it was not licensing but putting in place an import management system. Minister of state for electronics and IT Rajeev Chandrasekhar said the purpose is to ensure that equipment, servers, and laptops entering the digital India ecosystem originate from trusted sources. 

Today, Director General of Foreign Trade Santosh Kumar Sarangi said the government is holding consultations with the industry and a new order on laptop imports will be announced by the end of October.

Meanwhile, the announcement to restrict imports of laptops and computers nudged big tech companies to apply for the revised Rs 17,000 crore PLI scheme for IT hardware announced by the government in May 2023. The scheme received an overwhelming response, with 44 companies, including HP, Dell, Lenovo, Thompson, Acer, and Asus applied for it. The government said that many of them will start their production from next fiscal year only.

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