Imports of TVs in certain categories will now require a licence from the government. “Import policy of colour television sets… is amended from ‘free’ to ‘restricted’,” the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) said in a notification, adding that it would separately issue the procedure for the grant of licence.
The curbs are applicable to TV sets included in the ‘other colour’ category that covers LCD TVs among the goods. There is no restriction on monochrome TVs. The total imports under the restricted category in fiscal 2020 were $781 million. Of these, Vietnam and China accounted for $428.37 million and $292.48 million, respectively.
India has a free trade agreement (FTA) with the Asean bloc that includes Vietnam. Electronics goods from China are suspected to be routed to India through the Southeast Asian country. Industry executives said the move would help stop indiscriminate import of TV sets from China and other countries like Thailand and Malaysia through the FTA route. India had relaxed quantitative restrictions on the import of 1,429 items including TV sets in 2000 and 2001.
At present, around 35% of TV sets sold in the country are imported.
The directorate said the actual user condition would not be applicable to importers seeking authorisation to import the restricted goods. Actual user (industrial) refers to a person who utilises the imported goods for manufacturing in his own industrial unit or for his own use in another unit. Last month, the DGFT restricted the import of certain new pneumatic tyres used in cars, motorcycles, bicycles, buses and trucks in a move to promote domestic manufacturing and check dumping of retreated and cheap tyres from China.
TVs are some of the non-essential goods whose imports India wants to cut down to boost domestic manufacturing. Sports goods, toys and plastic goods are some other categories that are likely to face import restrictions.
The chairman of homegrown contract manufacturer Dixon Technologies, Sunil Vachani, said the move would further boost the make in India initiative for TVs sets and go a long way for selfreliance. “India has the capability to manufacture television sets across all sizes and this will spur those investments,” said Vachani.
Panasonic India CEO Manish Sharma said this would help increase value addition for the television manufacturing industry. “This move will impact some of the brands who were just importing products and selling. Television is a category which does not have too complicated assembling and India can easily scale it up,” he said.