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Import curbs on laptops, tablet will boost local manufacturing: Industry players

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The government imposed import restrictions on laptops, tablets and certain types of computers with immediate effect for security reasons and to promote domestic manufacturing

New Delhi: The government’s decision to impose import restrictions on laptops, tablets and certain types of computers will boost local manufacturing of these devices, industry players said on Thursday.

Hailing the move as progressive, they said it will also help in achieving the Make-in-India vision.

The government on Thursday imposed import restrictions on laptops, tablets and certain types of computers with immediate effect for security reasons and to promote domestic manufacturing.

The Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT), in a notification, said that exemption from import licensing is provided for up to 20 items per consignment for R&D, testing, benchmarking and evaluation, repair and return, product development purposes.

Reacting to the move, Optiemus Electronics Ltd (OEL) Managing Director A Gururaj said in a statement, “We believe the government’s decision to curb the laptop, tablet, and computer imports is progressive and has the potential to boost indigenous electronics manufacturing in the country and also help in achieving Make-in-India vision.”

Electronic manufacturing services company OEL holds PLI (Production Linked Incentive Scheme) permit for IT Hardware and manufactures laptops.

“With this move, we expect further expansion of our capacity to manufacture these devices,” Gururaj said.

Research Director of Counterpoint Research Tarun Pathak said the total laptop and PC market size in India is close to USD 8 billion annually and approximately 65 per cent of the units are imported.

“The government’s move is aimed at promoting domestic production and reducing dependence on imports. The industry comprises around 12 million units, and this restriction may lead to some short-term supply disruptions, especially for brands like Apple, HP, and Lenovo. Moreover, with the festive season approaching, a significant period for sales, the industry may face challenges in meeting demand,” Pathak said.

He said that India has made remarkable progress in achieving almost 100 per cent local manufacturing for smartphones and TVs, but the IT hardware segment has lagged behind, with only 30-35 per cent of products currently being made in India.

“This move signals a strong push to bridge that gap and enhance the local production of laptops, tablets, and personal computers,” Pathak said.

HP and Lenovo have also started local production of some of their laptops.

Last week, Samsung said that it is manufacturing tablets in India.

Earlier this week, Reliance Jio unveiled a SIM-connected, laptop-styled e-learning device branded as JioBook that allows users to browse the internet and supports all learning endeavours.

Videotex, which makes smart TV for Realme, Toshiba, Lloyd, Vise, BPL, Hyundai and more than 15 other brands of India, said that the move highly encourages building the whole manufacturing ecosystem in the country.

“By reducing the reliance on imports, the country can achieve self-reliance or “aatmanirbharta” in manufacturing electronics products. Furthermore, supporting the ‘Make in India’ initiative by the government, the emphasis can be placed on promoting locally manufactured electronics, which can boost the economy, create jobs, and reduce dependence on foreign imports,” Videotex Director Arjun Bajaj said.

Mobile devices industry body ICEA said that the policy announcement seems to be based on the premise of providing secure digital access to the burgeoning number of digital citizens in the country.

“We are confident that valid licenses will be provided to trusted industry partners which will enable Ease of Doing Business (EoDB) and unrestricted access to trusted brands for digital consumers,” ICEA Chairman Pankaj Mohindroo said.

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