Covid lockdown: Handset companies seek essentials tag

New Delhi: Handset makers have urged the government to consider mobile handsets as essential items.

An industry lobby group urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to direct the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to do so in a letter dated April 21.

“We request for your kind direction to the MHA on this very important recommendation from the industry which is duly considered and approved by the crisis management structure set up you – the Empowered Group of Technology and Data Management,” India Cellular and Electronics Association (ICEA) Chairman Pankaj Mohindroo wrote in the letter.

ICEA represents handset brands such as Xiaomi, Oppo, Vivo, Apple and Lava, and contract manufactures such as Foxconn and Wistron. The empowered group had already recommended that a clarification should be issued, including mobile phones in the list of essential products.

The Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY) had earlier recommended that devices and other related products should be included in the “essential goods” category. The recommendation was sent to home secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla in a letter dated April 20, in which IT secretary Ajay Sawhney also requested that manufacturing of IT hardware components should be permitted as they are required to support work from home.

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