Indian Government Delays Licensing Requirements for IT Hardware Imports

The Indian Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) has announced a delay in the implementation of import licensing requirements for IT hardware such as laptops, PCs, and tablets. The new regime, which was initially set to take effect in August 2022, will now be enforced from September 2023. This decision comes after weeks of uncertainty and significant opposition from hardware manufacturers.

Simplified ‘Authorization’ System

The licensing requirement will take the form of a simplified ‘authorization’ issued by the DGFT. An ‘Import Management System’ will be established to process these authorizations efficiently and provide the government with the necessary data and information to ensure a trusted digital system.

Security Concerns and China’s Dominance

Government officials had previously mentioned security concerns in vague terms, hinting at growing unease over China’s dominance as a source for hardware. While the authorities emphasized that the licensing requirements were intended as a surveillance measure, critics argued that Customs data already offered detailed insights into legally imported products.

Promoting Local Assembly

The licensing requirements were initially introduced to encourage global PC brands like Dell and HP to assemble their products in India. A Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme with a budget of ₹22,890 crore was established to alleviate financial and tariff challenges associated with assembling IT hardware in India.



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