With an expected extension of the second phase of lockdown, the Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY) has taken cognizance of industry concerns around allowing IT and telecom products as essentials during the lockdown.
An ET report said that the IT and telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad held a meeting on Wednesday with electronics manufacturers including industry associations ICEA, MAIT, ELCINA, IESA, CEAMA, CII, IAMAI, TEMA, PHD Chamber of Commerce among others.
The minister reportedly informed them that the “requests regarding broadening the definition of essential goods to ICT products, retail /online sale of ICT essential goods, authorised sales and services of ICT essential goods have already been taken up with the ministry of home affairs.”
It is to be noted that electronics manufacturers have repeatedly demanded inclusion of mobile devices like smartphones, laptops, servers and related accessories among essential items to support work from home during the lockdown.
Earlier, India Cellular and Electronics Association had written to the government including Meity and the Home Ministry to allow the sale of mobile devices to support communication at the time of the coronavirus crisis. However, the ministry of home affairs is yet to decide on the same.
Prasad has now asked officials to extend full support to the industry and liaison with states and union territories for reopening of electronics manufacturing facilities. The minister emphasised on the recently notified schemes under which the government will provide financial support of INR 50,000 Cr to the electronic system design and manufacturing ecosystem and requested the industry to take advantage of the new schemes and attract global investments.
“He emphasised the role of the medical electronics industry that is on the brink of a complete turnaround. He exhorted the electronics industry to explore the new opportunities that are arising out of the adversity and make the country the global hub of electronics manufacturing,” the statement said.
Recently, the DPIIT had asked ecommerce companies to submit a list of limited items that can be considered as essentials. Once the list is submitted, DPIIT will forward it to the ministry of home affairs (MHA) for a final nod. For the time being, the ecommerce companies are looking to start delivery of work-from-home essentials like internet routers, chargers, laptops, tablets, and stationeries.