Government mulls new policy for electronics import

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In times to come, importers of electronic goods and hardware will have to undergo stringent quality check of the products they are getting into this country. The Indian government through Ministry of Communications and IT Department of Information Technology is drafting a policy that indicates mandatory quality norms for 16 electronic items including computers, printers, and mobile phones, according to a DQ Week report.

Elaborating upon this, Alok Bhardwaj, president, MAIT said, “In recent years, there has been a surge in the demand for IT hardware in the Indian market. Also, the zero duty structure has led to a significant increase in the import of IT hardware. So apart from the established brands, now we are seeing the market flooded with unknown brands. These unknown brands are of not good quality creating multiple issues. This scenario has led the government to devise such a policy.”

Asha Nangia, additional director, Department of Information Technology said, “We are planning to establish a regime of standards. We have identified a set of products that now needs to be compulsorily registered under the registration scheme notification of Consumer Affairs Ministry. In the first phase, we are focusing only on the safety standards.” The agenda with this policy is to curb the menace created by unscrupulous, spurious and unknown brands that have flooded the Indian market. The policy is being drafted by Department of Information Technology (DIT) in consultation with Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS). Under the scanner will be 16 categories including computer systems, printers, monitors, scanners, keyboards, dvd players, set-top boxes, television set, telephones, music systems, radios, electronic games, microwave ovens, public address systems/reception apparatus, electronic clocks, and automatic data processing machines.

This policy will focus on certain key areas like energy consumption, electromagnetic wave compatibility, safety and waste creation. Energy consumption is on the key list as many imported products do not have energy-efficient or saving component. Similarly, many devices emit electromagnetic waves, which are not permissible as per Indian law. Also, the quality of products at times is poor, which creates safety issues so this parameter is on list. Finally, waste creation from disposed goods at times generates hazardous fumes, reactions leading to health issues.

It has been observed and reported by many about the surge in the import of sub-standards quality products from other countries especially China. Most of the developed countries have stringent policies in place, and it is high-time our country also had one. Iterating this thought, Bhardwaj said, “The current scenario calls for a policy to put in place a parameter-check on the quality of products imported to our country. There is definitely a need to keep a tab on the electronics products dumped in India.”

The IT department is currently working on this policy and it will be applicable for both domestic manufacturers as well as importers. Nangia said, “It is in the final stage and we are awaiting confirmation from the Department of Consumer Affairs. Post that it would be officially announced in the form of government notification.” Adding to this, Bhardwaj said, “There are plans to create a separate division under IT department which will be responsible to work on this policy and regulate entire ecosystem with regards to imports.” International trade agreement, might facilitate the smooth movement of goods but it does not give any other country a right to dump products in India. Such policies are a necessity as a country cannot have any stringent measures on issues like anti-dumping.

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