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Trading restrictions

INDIA

Reported in 2010

Chapter Standards  |  Sub-chapter Product screening and testing requirements
Ban on the ground of national security
The Indian government is reported to block purchases of telecoms equipment from Chinese vendors on national security grounds. The Department of Telecommunications amended its license conditions for mobile service providers, requiring them to submit all plans for procurement of telecoms equipment from foreign vendors for screening and “security clearance” purposes. Although the amendment did not single out China, it is reported that, in practice, security agencies have been blocking applications involving Chinese vendors.
Coverage Chinese telecoms imports
Trading restrictions

INDIA

Since February 2012

Chapter Standards  |  Sub-chapter Product screening and testing requirements
Preferential Market Access (PMA) Policy
The Preferential Market Access (PMA) Policy provides that domestically manufactured equipment receives preferences in government procurement and in some types of private sector procurement. The underlying objectives are India’s goals to expand its domestic manufacturing capacity and to protect the security of its telecommunications networks. India revised the PMA in December 2013, but the revised policy continues to require that domestically manufactured goods constitute a certain percentage of the electronic products procured by government entities.

More information on the measure is available under the 'Public Procurement' chapter.
Coverage Certain electronic products
Sources
Trading restrictions

INDIA

Since 2011
Since April 2018

Chapter Standards  |  Sub-chapter Product screening and testing requirements
Amendment to the "Unified Access Service License Agreement for Security Related Concerns for Expansion of Telecom Services in various zones of the country" No.10-15/2011

The Indian Telegraph (Amendment) Rules, 2017
Since 2011, the rules on security clearance for telecom equipment require that Telecom Service Providers (TSP), before buying any equipment/software, have to apply to the Indian Department of Telecommunications for prior security clearance.

Only resident trained Indian nationals can be employed as executives responsible for certain security checks. There is also a possibility of extensive inspections of hardware, software, design, development and manufacturing facilities as well as supply chains that might jeopardize intellectual property rights. High fines are imposed in case of non-compliance.

Additionally, since April 2018, India's Telegraph (Amendment) Rules require onerous in-country security testing on all telecom network equipment and products. Previously, such products could be tested and certified in laboratories globally, or at in-house laboratories of the manufacturers (self-certification). Mandatory testing and certification by Indian laboratories triggers additional cost and unnecessary delays for companies, especially given that the availability of suitable laboratories in India remains unclear. Furthermore, there are concerns on India's compulsory security certification scheme (CRS).
Coverage Telecommunication equipment
Trading restrictions

INDIA

Since Jan 2014

Chapter Standards  |  Sub-chapter Product safety certification (EMC/EMI, radio transmission)
Standard compliant certificates
In India, there is a mandatory testing procedure by Indian laboratories for conformity to Indian standards. India does not accept foreign test reports issued by labs approved under the internationally-supported IECEE CB Scheme. This results in duplicative in-country certification of the electronics devices that online retailers offer for sale.

15 product categories of electronic and IT products (including laptops, tablets, printers, scanners and wireless keyboards) are mandatorily required to obtain standard compliant certificates before being sold in India. The manufacturers have to send the products to the accredited laboratories that conduct the tests and send the report to the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) which issues the certificates.
Coverage Electronic devices including laptops, tablets, printers, scanners and wireless keyboards
Trading restrictions

INDIA

Since 2011

Chapter Quantitative Trade Restrictions  |  Sub-chapter Export restrictions
Export of dual-use items
Export of dual-use items and technologies under India’s Foreign Trade Policy is either prohibited or is permitted under a license. The list of dual-use items also includes electronics, computers and information technology, including information security.
Coverage Several items including electronics, computers, and information technology (including information security)
Trading restrictions

INDIA

Only in 2012

Chapter Quantitative Trade Restrictions  |  Sub-chapter Local Content Requeriments for commercial market
Preferential procurement policies
Currently, there are no local content requirements for the commercial market, but in 2012 the EU reported the implementation of preferential procurement policies for domestically manufactured electronic goods and telecom products applicable to procurement schemes of private purchasing entities (e.g. telecom services operators).
Source
  • Trade and Investment Barriers Report 2014, European Commission, page 6:

    http://trade.ec.europa.eu/doclib/docs/2014/march/tradoc_152272.pdf
Trading restrictions

INDIA

Since 2012

Chapter Quantitative Trade Restrictions  |  Sub-chapter Import restrictions
Compulsory Registration Scheme
India's Compulsory Registration Scheme mandates that 30 ICT products must undergo registration and labelling prior to being launched in the market. At the same time, an obligation was introduced to self-declare registration information (through screen-printing/embossing/engraving on the product or the packaging material).
Coverage 30 ICT Products (HS Code 85)
Trading restrictions

INDIA

Reported in March 2014

Chapter Quantitative Trade Restrictions  |  Sub-chapter Import restrictions
Import restriction
For the purposes of entry requirements, India has distinguished between goods that are new and those that are second-hand, remanufactured, refurbished, or reconditioned. This distinction has resulted in barriers to trade in goods that belong to the second category. For example, refurbished computer spare parts can only be imported if an Indian chartered engineer certifies that the equipment retains at least 80% of its life, while refurbished computer parts from domestic sources are not subject to this requirement. Problems that industry representatives have reported include excessive details required in the license application, quantity limitations set on specific part numbers, and long delays between application and granting of the license.
Coverage Refurbished computer spare parts
Source
  • USTR, 2014 National Trade Estimate Report on Foreign Trade Barriers: https://ustr.gov/sites/default/files/2014%20NTE%20Report%20on%20FTB.pdf
Trading restrictions

INDIA

Reported in 2014

Chapter Quantitative Trade Restrictions  |  Sub-chapter Import restrictions
Import Export Classification, Indian Trade Classification – Harmonized System (ITC-HS) Code and Import Policy 2012
Certain goods require a special permission or licensing in order to be imported. Selected consumer goods, which also include some electronic items, are qualified as licensed/restricted items which can only be imported after obtaining an import license from India’s Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT). However, it has been reported that India is increasingly using import licences at the discretion of the authorities to limit imports of sensitive products. Apparently, the licensing system is not automatic as it involves delays and authorised quantities can be lower than requested. The granting of licences is limited to actual users.
Coverage Selected electronic items (e.g. HS Codes 85255010, 85255020, 85255040, 85255090, 85256012, 85256092, 85261000, 85269110, 85269130, 85269140, 85269150, 85269190, 85269200, 85291011, 85291021, 85291091, 85299010, 85437091)
Sources
Restrictions on data

INDIA

Since 2010

Chapter Content access  |  Sub-chapter Censorship and filtering of web content
Licensing practices
To date, there are no cases of discriminatory use or revocation of licenses. However, internet services providers are required to sign a "License Agreement for Provision of Internet Services".
Coverage Internet Services Providers (ISPs)
Restrictions on data

INDIA

Since 2012

Chapter Content access  |  Sub-chapter Censorship and filtering of web content
Internet and mobile network shutdowns
UNESCO reported that between 2012 and 2017, Indian authorities mandated complete internet and mobile network shutdowns in different parts of India. These caused citizens and businesses to be unable to access the internet for as much as 680 days. eCommerce, media and IT services were among the most affected sectors, and it is reported that as much as USD 3 Billion have been lost as a result. Although much of these shutdowns occured in certain regions, nearly half of India's states saw shutdowns of some kind during the reported period. For the most part, these shutdowns occured as a response to political unrest, to prevent the circulation of videos and photos of abuses by the military and clashes with activists and protesters.
Coverage Horizontal
Restrictions on data

INDIA

In December 2014

Chapter Content access  |  Sub-chapter Censorship and filtering of web content
Information Technology Act
India's Ministry of Communications and Information Technology issued an order to all licensed Internet services providers in the country to block access to 32 websites, effective immediately in December 2014.The ban affected access to sites such as archive.org, vimeo.com, dailymotion.com, but also github.com and pastebin.com, which are widely used by software developers.

Officially, the government has admitted blocking 245 web pages for inflammatory content and hosting of provocative content. However, a report by Bangalore-based Center for Internet and Society states that 309 specific items (URLs, Twitter accounts, img tags, blog posts, blogs, and a handful of websites) have been blocked by the government.
Coverage 309 web pages and several websites including github.com
Restrictions on data

INDIA

Since 2011

Chapter Intermediary liability  |  Sub-chapter Notice and takedown requirement
Information Technology (Intermediaries Guidelines) Rules
Rule 3(4) of the Information Technology (Intermediaries Guidelines) Rules creates a notice and takedown regime for what concerns "any information that is grossly harmful, harassing, blasphemous defamatory, obscene, pornographic, paedophilic, libellous, invasive of another's privacy, hateful, or racially, ethnically objectionable, disparaging, relating to or encouraging money laundering or gambling, harm minors in any way, impersonate another person, belongs to another person and to which the user does not have any right to or violates any law among other things". The regime mandates that the intermediary has to remove such information within 36 hours, either when it gets to know on its own or receives actual knowledge that such information is being stored, hosted or published on its computer system.

The Rules for administration of takedowns by intermediaries have been criticised extensively by both national and international actors for creating uncertainty in the criteria and procedure for administering the takedown, thereby inducing the intermediaries to err on the side of caution and over-comply with takedown notices in order to limit their liability.

Moreover, in 2014, Mumbai-based Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) filed a petition to the Supreme Court that frequent, unilateral and arbitrary orders from governments asking internet service providers to remove "objectionable" content created and posted by third parties on websites seriously affected their online business.
Coverage Internet intermediaries
Restrictions on data

INDIA

Since 2000

Chapter Intermediary liability  |  Sub-chapter Lack of safe harbor for intermediary liability
Information Technology Act
Section 69 of the Indian Information Technology Act (IITA) requires intermediaries to extend all facilities and technical assistance to intercept, monitor or decrypt information as well as to provide information stored in a computer or provide access to a computer resource, when called upon to do so by certain agencies. This extends to online intermediaries which are required to designate an officer to facilitate the execution of such orders. Intermediaries that fail to meet these obligations may be punished with imprisonment of up to seven years.
Coverage Internet intermediaries
Restrictions on data

INDIA

Since June 2000
Reported in September 2018

Chapter Data policies  |  Sub-chapter Sanctions for non-compliance
Section 72A of the Information Technology Act

Draft Personal Data Protection Bill, 2018
The Information Technology Act sets fines up to 500,000 INR (around 8,000 USD) or imprisonment up to three years; or a combination of both.

A draft Personal Data Protection Bill would increase the fines for breach of its provision up to 150,000,000 INR (approximately 2,100,000 USD) or 4% of its total worldwide turnover of its preceding financial year.
Coverage Horizontal