The Indian government has restricted import of colour televisions, in a move that is being viewed as a push for domestic manufacturing and a way to reduce inbound shipments of non-essential items from countries like China.
"Import policy of colour television.....is amended from free to restricted," a notification from the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) in a notification on July 30 said.
"Actual user condition would not be applicable for importers applying for an authorization to import the goods 'Restricted' in this Notification. The procedure for grant of license will be separately issued by DGFT," the notification said.
The curbs are imposed on TV sets of all screen sizes, ranging from up to 36 cm to over 105 cm. Liquid crystal display (LCD) television sets of screen size below 63 cm are also covered under the restrictions.
Putting an item under a restricted category of imports means the importer of that commodity will have to seek an import licence from the Commerce Ministry's DGFT.
China is the largest exporter of TV sets in India. It was followed by countries like Vietnam, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Korea, Indonesia, Thailand, and Germany.
Imports of colour TV in FY20 was worth $781 million in 2019-20, of which imports from Vietnam and China stood at $428 million and $293 million respectively in FY19.
Panasonic India CEO & President Manish Sharma was optimistic about the development, stating: "The move will have a procedural impact. It will definitely have a positive impact on domestic assembling which happens here. Leading brands already have manufacturing and assembling units in the country. So, it is not going to impact us."