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Laptop import restriction: ICEA writes to IT ministry seeking 9-month breather

Laptop import restriction: ICEA writes to IT ministry seeking 9-month breather

New Delhi: The India Cellular and Electronics Association (ICEA) has written a letter to the Union Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, requesting to reconsider the decision to implement laptops and PC import restrictions.

In the letter sent to Alkesh Kumar Sharma, Secretary of MeitY, on August 22, ICEA expressed their fear that the import restriction may lead to a price rise in consumer electronics products as companies are not yet prepared to manufacture PCs, laptops, and servers domestically at scale.

ICEA Chairman Pankaj Mohindroo wrote that an overarching factor that should be taken into consideration in "avoiding supply chain disruption till domestic production ramps up" is that any “reduction in supplies or even an indication will lead to hoarding and market distortion”.

This, in turn, can push up consumer prices, “which will adversely impact not just key stakeholders such as students, but also those who are the core of growing the digital economy, i.e., start-ups, IT and ITES firms, BPOs," he said.

“It is critical that we ensure an uninterrupted supply for at least a year, till such time we can build up domestic capacity,” Mohindroo noted.

The ICEA pitched that the industry seeks at least a nine-month breather after the PLI for IT Hardware was launched.

“The government may undertake a re-assessment of the investment pipeline and the supply situation before inviting the industry to discuss whether any further policy intervention is needed at that stage. It may be too early to assess the full implication of the new scheme before then.”

Where servers are concerned, the ICEA has received inputs that companies in that sector seek a relook at their inclusion in the proposed intervention.

“Overall, we will request the government to layer any intervention in a manner that works well for the industry as a whole, since individual companies are differently placed, at varying degrees of investments and products at this stage,” the letter read.

The Central government earlier deferred its decision to restrict the import of certain categories of laptops and computers until November 1, allowing companies three-month time to import these devices.

Post-November 1, no entity will be allowed to import laptops, computers, and related items without a license.

Earlier this month, top consumer electronics companies like HP, Apple, and Dell urged the government to extend the November 1 deadline for the licenses required for PCs, laptops, and tablets by at least a year, as it will take time to configure and set up manufacturing or assembling units as per new guidelines.

The PLI 2.0 for IT hardware has garnered applications from 40 companies including global and domestic, according to the ICEA.

Union IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said on Wednesday that 32 companies like HP, Dell, Lenovo, Foxconn, Acer, and Thomson, among others, have applied under the PLI 2.0 scheme for IT hardware. The expected incremental production under the scheme is around Rs 3.35 lakh crore, according to the minister.

With inputs from IANS

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