An alternative to licensing laptop and PC imports is on the agenda that focuses on restricting shipments from select countries by introducing a system of registration rather than licensing.
This will relax the import norms for PCs as well as laptops and tablets. However, such imports would have to come from a trusted jurisdiction.
Consultations are ongoing with industry representatives on the import restriction that starts from November 1.
Officials said the discussions have thrown up other options, and a decision would be made before November.
The Centre is now weighing the possibility of allowing importers to register online instead of going through the hassles of getting a licence, which is already the case for steel.
The government may even delay implementing the restrictions by a year or more, they said.
The government already has the steel import monitoring system in place under which the importers do not need a licence but get registered online.
A unique code is generated that has to be put on the bill of entry for carrying out imports. Something similar could be tried out for laptops and computers, they said.
Also, laptops, tablets and all-in-one PCs import can only be imported from “trusted geographies”, a move aimed at curbing imports from China.
The measure could force IT hardware companies to establish new supply chains as China is unlikely to be classified as a trusted geography.
Currently in the draft stage, the measure is being referred to as an “import management system” through which the government will monitor imports.
On August 3, the government announced immediate restrictions on the imports of laptops, tablets and PCs and notified that companies will be able to import only after a valid licence.
The very next day upon the request of the industry for a larger consultation, it extended the deadline to November 1.
Officials explained that the move is not to restrict import, rather to ensure that equipment, servers, and laptops that are coming into the Indian digital ecosystem are from trusted sources.
They said internet penetration is increasing in the country in a bigger way and in this background Indian citizens need to have an environment and ecosystem, where they are not exposed to machines or instruments which might pose security risks.
According to think-tank Global Trade Research Initiative, 65 per cent of Chinese imports come from just three groups — electronics, machinery and organic chemicals.