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ICEA seeks to include mobile phones, laptops in essential services list

Indian Cellular and Electronics Association (ICEA) has urged the government to classify mobile phones, tablets, laptops and other information and communications technology (ICT) products as essential services over the coronavirus lockdown.
Indian Cellular and Electronics Association (ICEA) has urged the government to classify mobile phones, tablets, laptops and other information and communications technology (ICT) products as essential services over the coronavirus lockdown. (Hindustan Times)

The Indian government has included telecom, Internet services, broadcasting, cable services, IT and ITES under essential services for now

Indian Cellular and Electronics Association (ICEA) has urged the government to classify mobile phones, tablets, laptops and other information and communications technology (ICT) products as essential services over the coronavirus lockdown.

This request, sent as a letter to PM Narendra Modi, went out on Sunday (March 29) as the industry body sought the sale of these devices via e-commerce platforms.

The Manufacturers Association of Information Technology (MAIT) also made a similar request to the government in a letter sent on March 27.

Citing the example of foreign countries, like the US, ICEA also requested that services and maintenance of these products be included in the list of essential services over the lockdown. For now, the list of essential services include telecom, Internet services, broadcasting and cable services, IT and ITES (Information Technology Enabled Services).

The ICEA has argued that all these services "terminate on residential and handheld consumer communications equipment", like mobile phones and laptops.

The electronics industry in the country has come to a standstill while this 21-day country-wide lockdown carries on. Manufacturing has stopped since factories are shut and retails stores have also been closed to avoid public gathering. The ICEA have pointed out that they are not asking for retail stores to be opened at the moment.

Smartphone companies like Xiaomi, Vivo and Realme have also postponed the launches of new devices.

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