Licensing Norms For Laptops Tweaked, New Authorisation System Put In Place: Report

Amid reports suggesting that nations like the US, Taiwan, China and Korea had raised concerns about India’s decision to put import restrictions on laptops in a recent WTO meeting, government officials on Thursday said a new system of “authorisation” for imports of laptops, tablets as well as personal computers (PCs) will be launched, the media has reported. According to news agency Reuters, the Centre’s new “import management system” will come into effect on November 1.

The move is likely to bring a big relief to global laptop and PC makers such as HP, Apple, Samsung, Lenovo and Dell, which had been unnerved by the sudden announcement of a licensing regime a few weeks back.

The new authorisation plan for import of PCs and laptops requires firms to register the quantity and value of imports and the government will not reject any import requests and will use the data for monitoring, the report added, citing government officials. The government intends to monitor shipments of such hardware without hurting market supply.

The authorisation will be valid till September 30, 2024.

According to S. Krishnan, the top bureaucrat in the electronics and infotech ministry, the aim is to “ensure that all this provides us with the kind of data and information we need to make sure that we have a completely trusted digital system”.

Earlier in August, the Indian government imposed restrictions on the import of laptops, tablets, servers and other Personal Computers (PCs) with immediate effect, in an attempt to give a push to local manufacturing.

“Their import would be allowed against a valid licence for restricted imports,” a notice issued by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Department of Commerce, Government of India, had said.

However, the Centre deferred the decision and said it was rolling back its earlier plan to impose restrictions on laptop imports, after facing criticism from the industry and Washington.

“India will not impose restrictions on laptop imports,” Trade Secretary Sunil Barthwal was quoted as saying by Reuters earlier this month.