NEW DELHI: The import of laptops and servers should be only from trusted sources, Minister of State Electronic and Information Technology Rajeev Chandrasekhar said on Monday. The minister reiterated that the government is not trying to restrict imports of laptops or tabs but is putting in place an effective import management system.
“There are no import restrictions. What we are saying is that we will have an import management system, where we are doubly assured that equipment, servers and laptops that are coming into the digital India ecosystem are from trusted sources,” he said. He further said, unfortunately, the communication was misconstrued as a licensing attempt.
Putting the trusted sources clause for the import of laptops and servers can make Indian markets inaccessible to Chinese laptops. It is not the first time the government has come up with such a directive. In the case of telecom equipment, the government directs telecom service providers to source their equipment from trusted sources for their network expansion.
Under this rule, telcos are mandated to buy equipment only from entities labelled by the National Cyber Security Coordinator as a ‘trusted source’ and products designated as a ‘trusted’ one. This decision led to the exclusion of two major telecom gear makers -- Huawei and ZTE -- from India. However, the government has yet to define a ‘trusted source’ in the case of IT hardware. Most laptop makers are from the US, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, which are trusted trade partners of India but their manufacturing base is in China. Lenovo is the only Chinese laptop sold in India.
The industry is concerned about the government’s definition of ‘trusted hardware’. After getting a good response for the PLI scheme for mobile manufacturing, the government came up with a revised `17,000 crore scheme for IT hardware in May 2023.