A day after mandating a licensing regime for import of laptops, tablets and personal computers, the government has decided to give a “transition period” for companies to migrate to the new regime. The announcement is said to have come amid fears that the curbs could hit supplies leading to increase in prices of these devices. In a notification published late Friday (August 4), the Ministry of Commerce and Industry said that the implementation of the new import rule won’t go into effect till October 31. The new rules will come into effect starting November 1.

Earlier in the day, the minister of state for IT & electronics Rajeev Chandrasekhar assured the industry that there will be a transition period. “There will be a transition period for this to be put into effect, which will be notified soon.”

The government is said to have stepped into damage control mode as companies, such as Samsung, Dell and Apple were forced to stop shipments into the country as they needed a licence from Friday (August 4) to keep the supply chain going. Thursday’s notification said that the ban on imports comes into immediate effect. This meant that the government’s notification gave companies less than 12 hours before putting in place the new regime.

What is the laptop import ban?

  1.  The government on August 4 added laptops, tablets and personal computers to a list of imports that are restricted. The list includes tyres, television sets and air conditioners. These items can now be imported only after getting a licence from the Directorate General for Foreign Trade (DGFT). China and South Korea are seen to be among the largest sources of imports, along with Vietnam.

  2. Although no reason was stated for the latest import curb, officials said that it has been done to “safeguard the security of citizens” and added that imports will be allowed only from “trusted sources”. “Some of the hardware can potentially have security-related issues and compromise sensitive and personal data. We have taken into account a few of those goods,” an official said.

  3. The notification by the DGFT comes days after the government’s PLI scheme for hardware failed to find any takers despite the incentive amount being increased by 131% to Rs 17,000 crore.

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