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Indian Economy

Import of Refurbished Mobile Phones

  • 18 May 2019
  • 2 min read

India has allowed the import of refurbished mobile phones, subject to the condition that they are certified by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS).

  • A refurbished mobile phone refers to a handset that was returned to the manufacturer, tested for problems and restored to full-functioning in factory-standard condition.
  • The move meets the demands of mobile operators like Apple which want to tap blooming smartphone business in India.
  • As per a notification by the commerce ministry, the import of electronic goods (new as well as second hand, whether or not refurbished, repaired or reconditioned) which require compulsory registration, is prohibited unless they are registered with the BIS and comply to the labelling requirements. The import can be allowed if the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) gives a specific exemption for a particular consignment.

Concerns

  • The chief concern is that how will the BIS be able to certify refurbished phones as they lack in uniformity. For instance, new phones have a uniform standard and can be examined for certification purposes by picking up a sample. However, such uniform sampling is not possible in the case of refurbished mobile phones.
  • There is a fear that companies may use India as a place to dump hazardous electronic waste.
  • Import of refurbished mobile phones would negate the effect of ‘Make in India’ initiative.
  • It will act as a counter to the National Policy on Electronics, 2019.

Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS)

  • BIS is the National Standard Body of India established under the BIS Act 2016 for the harmonious development of the activities of standardization, marking and quality certification of goods and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.
  • It has its headquarters in New Delhi.
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