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Government restricts import of Laptops,Tablets to push Make in India

Utkarsh Classes 04-08-2023
Government restricts import of Laptops,Tablets to push Make in India Economy 5 min read

The government of India has imposed restrictions on the import of laptops,tablets and servers with effect from 1st November 2023 , in an effort to promote India as a hub for electronic manufacturing .

In a notification issued by the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT), importers will need permits from the central government to import laptops, tablets, all-in-one personal computers, ultra-small computers, and servers.

The import restriction is likely to hit Apple, Dell,lenovo and HP which mainly import these machines and sell them in India. 

Reason behind the government step to restrict import

Two reasons have been put forward for the government's move to restrict the import of laptops etc. One is the push to make India a hub for electronic manufacturing  and the other is related to security concerns .

Make in India Push

  • The government of India launched Make in India programme on 25 September 2014 to transform the country into a leading global manufacturing hub and a favourite foreign investment destination. 

  • As part of Make in India programme the government of India  launched the Production Linked Investment (PLI) scheme  on 1 April 2020  to attract multinational companies to invest in India . 

  • Under the five year , Rs 1.97 lakh crore  PLI scheme, financial incentives are provided to the companies for investment and export of the identified products manufactured in India .   Initially the PLI scheme was for the Large Scale Manufacturing of Electronic goods but it was later extended to 13 other sectors .At present 14 sectors are covered under the PLI scheme.

  • PLI for mobile phones has been one of the most successful stories . India exported USD 10.9  billion worth of mobile phones in 2022-23  from near zero in 2014. 

  • Government wants to replicate a similar story in the Laptop,tablets, and servers and to reduce its imports. In 2022-23 India imported $ 8 billion worth of laptops alone,

  • To attract investment in the IT hardware sector the government of India in May 2023 introduced a revised Rs.17,000 crore production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme for IT hardware.

Security issue

  • China is a major supplier of digital hardware like laptops,tablets and servers . The government views the Chinese made hardware such as laptops,tablets and servers as a security risk.  

  • The government and many cyber security experts fear that  the Chinese manufactured IT hardware may come with embedded software  which could send the personal data of the person using the  hardware to China.  

  • China could also  exploit this security loophole to mount a crippling  cyber attack on the Indian IT infrastructure . This could paralyse the entire IT system posing a security threat to India . Keeping this in mind, the government of India wants to restrict its import from China .

  • China is a major manufacturing hub of  laptops,tablets and servers in the world . Last year India imported $ 27.6 billion worth of electronic hardware from China .

Director General of Foreign Trade (DGFT)

The DGFT comes under the Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry.  

It is responsible for formulating and implementing the Foreign Trade Policy of the government of India and to facilitate export from India .

Headquarters : New Delhi 

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