India abandons smartphone testing rules after backlash

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The Indian government has shelved plans for strict new testing requirements for electronics after a backlash from global smartphone companies, including Nokia and Apple.

According to a report in the Times of India, the government has decided to abolish the new rule that would have required that all new smartphones undergo mandatory testing and certification at accredited local labs in India before they are sold in the country.

In a statement, India’s Department of Telecommunications (DoT) said it exempted mobile phones, smart watches, smart cameras and PoS machines from the testing regime, citing regulatory overlap with the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.

The DoT said: “The exemptions on these widely-used products will reduce the compliance burden and will enable the industry to roll out their products faster. It will reduce import delays.”

The decision comes after telecom operators within India and global smartphone companies operating in the company called on the government not to go through with the new rules, warning that they would lead to a drop in the availability of smartphones in the country and would also hinder India’s ambitions to become a smartphone manufacturing base.

According to representatives from industries and industry associations, such overlap acted as a deterrent for timely launch of new products, along with increasing the cost of compliance for the industry.

“This exclusion is a measured, calibrated and a well-considered decision. It balances consumer interest and ease of doing business issues for the industry,” said Pankaj Mohindroo, chairman of the India Cellular and Electronics Association.