Meity takes up proposal to bring IT, telecom products in essential items with MHA

New Delhi, Apr 29 (PTI) The Ministry of Electronics and IT (Meity) has taken up the matter of including IT and telecom products in the list of essential items that will allow their sale through retail stores and e-commerce platforms during the lockdown.

IT and telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Wednesday held meeting with electronics manufacturers where he informed them that the 'requests regarding broadening the definition of essential goods to ICT products, retail /online sale of ICT essential goods, authorized sales and services of ICT essential goods have already been taken up with Ministry of Home Affairs', Meity said in a statement.

Prasad instructed the ministry officials to extend full support to the industry and liaison with states and union territories for reopening of electronics manufacturing facilities.

The minister reminded companies that under the recently notified schemes, the government will provide a financial support of Rs 50,000 crore to the electronic system design and manufacturing ecosystem and requested the industry to take advantage of the new schemes and attract global investments.

'He emphasized 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.

Industry associations ICEA, MAIT, ELCINA, IESA, CEAMA, CII, IAMAI, TEMA,  PHD Chamber of Commerce etc were part of the meeting with the minister.

Electronic manufacturers have been demanding to include mobile devices like smartphones, laptops, servers and related accessories among essential items to support work from home during the lockdown.

India Cellular and Electronics Association has written to the government authorities including Meity and the Home Ministry to allow sale of mobile devices to support communication at the time of coronavirus crisis.

However, MHA is yet to decide on the same.

'Restart, Restore and Resurgence that was the mantra adopted and Minister exhorted the industry to bring back normalcy,' ICEA Chairman Pankaj Mohindroo said.

ICEA,  whose members include Apple, Foxconn, Wistron, Flextronics, Xiaomi, Vivo, Lava, etc  presented challenges that industry is facing in restarting business.

'The minister has assured the industry that he will take up these issues with relevant ministries. GST increase by 50 per cent in these circumstances is a terrible blow and the industry raised it unanimously,' Mohindroo said.

Manufacturers Association of Information Technology (MAIT) suggested that the government can take a phased approach, where retail is opened in semi-urban and towns, and e-commerce in metros.

'Enterprise ICT sector catering to data centres and control rooms can be opened up fully as it has limited public interface and will not compromise the fight against covid-19,'' MAIT CEO George Paul said. PTI PRS MR MR