India has finally allowed import of refurbished or second mobile phones, subject to the condition that they are certified by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS). Though the move meets demands of mobile operators like Apple, which has been seeking permission for import of refurbished iPhones for the past few years, analysts said the process is cumbersome and fraught with risks.
Their 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.
The government was earlier against import of refurbished electronics products into the country, fearing that companies may use it to dump hazardous electronic waste. Also, it would negate the effect of Make in India initiative. The government had also told Apple that in-principle, it was against import of refurbished electronics items.
As per a May 7 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 BIS and comply to the labelling requirements. Also, the import can be allowed if Ministry of Electronics and IT (Meity) gives a specific exemption for a particular consignment.