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Electronic goods importers seek further extension of deadline
1/4/2014 12:09:03 PM from THE HINDU

Importers of electronic products have sought an extension of the January 3 deadline to comply with the Government’s safety certification norms.

Extended twice earlier, the industry is sceptical of getting another reprieve, a move that could halt the imports of these products.

“We have requested for an extension as the pace of registration is slow. Imports of electronic products, which are still under the process of registration and testing, could come to a halt,” said Anwar Shirpurwala, Executive Director with Manufacturers’ Association for Information Technology (MAIT).

Registrations, the process of issuing certifications by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), has picked up pace only in the last three weeks, Shirpurwala said, adding that BIS has committed to granting registration for all products before the deadline.

The Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY) had mandated all imported electronic goods should comply with BIS certifications. The Department wanted to regulate the flow of sub-standard electronic products into the country, some of which were also safety hazards. The Government’s regulations are “much similar” to international standards but this is the first time it took a stringent stance.

Extended Twice 

The Department had set July 3 as the deadline but extended it to October 3 and later to January 3, 2014, following repeated requests from the industry.

The goods were listed under 15 items, ranging from laptops to tablets and TV sets to microwave ovens. Printers, scanners, set top boxes and wireless keyboards also find a place on the list.

MAIT had officially sought for an extension in December and the industry body is yet to get an official communication from DeitY.

“The slow speed of registration has resulted in chaotic situations with companies running around for documentation, which is necessary for the registration process. Being a year-end, company employees are away on their holidays, while BIS is asking for additional documents,” Shirpurwala said.

To speed up the registration process, some companies have called back their employees from holidays to help in the documentation process.

India imported electronic goods worth $16 billion in FY13. This was the third largest imports after petroleum and gold, according to data compiled by Directorate General of Foreign Trade. India imported electronic items from all major suppliers, including the US, South Korea, China and Taiwan.

“There are no clear timelines for granting the registration, so product planning is going haywire. If registration takes two to three months then the product reaches the end of its lifecycle, Shirpurwala added.

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