DoT withdraws notification regarding mandatory testing of smartphones, cameras, smartwatches
Amid widespread backlash, the Department of Telecom has decided to withdraw its notification to carry out compulsory testing and certification of consumer electronic products. The DoT has cited regulatory overlap as the reason for exempting mobile phones, smartwatches, cameras, and PoS machines from testing. The notification was issued under the Mandatory Testing and Certification of Telecommunication Equipment (MTCTE) regime.
- India aims to be a $1 trillion digital economy. It also has aspirations to become a global manufacturing hub. One of the most important steps in achieving these targets is ensuring minimal regulatory red tapes.
- The order from the DoT directly conflicted with the government's vision of improving the ease of doing business in the country. Therefore, this withdrawal comes as a corrective step.
The DoT's notification asked manufacturers to compulsorily test mobile phones, smartwatches, and smart cameras, among other products under the MTCTE regime by January 1, 2023. As per the regime, an accredited lab has to test and certify the mentioned equipment before they are sold, used, or imported. The MTCTE regime is under the Indian Telegraph (Amendment) Rules, 2017.
The DoT rescinded the notification citing regulatory overlap with the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY). Under the Electronics and Information Technology (Requirement of Compulsory Registration Order, 2012, the MeitY already carries out mandatory registration of specified goods such as laptops, PoS machines, and other electronic equipment. Therefore, the DoT order for another round of testing was seen as an overlap of jurisdiction.
The DoT's order invited backlash from the telecom operators and the smartphone industry. The overlapping order from the ministry acted as a deterrent for new launches. It also increased the compliance cost for the industry. Therefore, the withdrawal of the order improves the ease of doing business for the manufacturers as they now have to obtain approval only from the MeitY.