“India Clarifies: No Licensing Requirement for Laptop Imports, Only Monitoring in Place”

"India Clarifies: No Licensing Requirement for Laptop Imports, Only Monitoring in Place"

India’s government has clarified that it will not impose a licensing requirement on imports of laptops and computers. Instead, they will closely monitor the inbound shipments of these products. This clarification comes after the government had initially announced in August that laptops, tablets, and computers would be subjected to a licensing regime starting on November 1.

Commerce Secretary Sunil Barthwal emphasized that this approach is primarily for monitoring purposes and does not involve any restrictions on laptop imports. He stated, “On laptops, we are of the view that there are no restrictions as such. We are only saying that somebody who is importing these laptops has to be under close watch so that we can look at these imports. It is basically monitoring, which we are doing. It has nothing to do with restrictions as such.”

Director General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) Santosh Kumar Sarangi further explained that an import management system will be implemented from November 1, with ongoing work to put it in place before October 30.

The government’s decision to impose import restrictions on laptops, computers (including tablet computers), microcomputers, large or mainframe computers, and certain data processing machines in August aimed to boost domestic manufacturing and reduce imports from countries such as China.

While the IT hardware product industry falls under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), DGFT is responsible for notifying decisions regarding the import and export of products.

Following the notification of these import restrictions, the IT hardware industry expressed concerns. India already has an import monitoring system in place for certain products like steel, coal, and paper.

The government’s move to impose licensing conditions on imports was based on security concerns and the desire to stimulate domestic manufacturing of these products.

According to a report by the Global Trade Research Initiative (GTRI), India heavily relies on China for everyday and industrial products, including mobile phones, laptops, components, solar cell modules, and integrated circuits.

To promote domestic manufacturing of electronic items, the government has introduced measures such as the production-linked incentive scheme and increased customs duties on various electronic components.

India imports approximately USD 7-8 billion worth of these goods each year. In the fiscal year 2022-23, the country imported personal computers, including laptops, worth USD 5.33 billion, down from USD 7.37 billion in 2021-22. Imports of certain data processing machines stood at USD 553 million in the last fiscal year, compared to USD 583.8 million in 2021-22. Similarly, imports of microcomputers/processors amounted to USD 1.2 million in the last fiscal year, compared to USD 2.08 million in 2021-22.

In May, the government approved the Production Linked Incentive Scheme 2.0 for IT Hardware with a budgetary allocation of ₹17,000 crore. In February 2021, the scheme for IT hardware, covering the production of laptops, tablets, All-in-One PCs, and servers, was approved with an outlay of ₹7,350 crore.

Sources By Agencies

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