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The Department of Telecom exempts certain products from mandatory testing requirements

The Department of Telecom exempts certain products from mandatory testing requirements
Trade & Regulatory Compliance Practice | Jasman Dhanoa

The Department of Telecom (“DoT”) in consultation with Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (“MeITy”), vide notification dated May 24, 2022, decided to exempt the following products (“exempted products”) from the ambit of Mandatory Testing and Certification of Telecommunication Equipment (“MTCTE”) regime: -

  • Mobile User Equipment / Mobile handset
  • Server
  • Smart watch
  • Smart camera and
  • Point of Sale Devices

As per the existing legal framework the above stated exempted products fall within the below regulatory regimes -

  • MTCTE:
  • The DoT had introduced the MTCTE Procedure for all telecom equipment, connected or capable of being connected to the Indian telecom network, to undergo mandatory testing and certification prior to sale, import and use in India.

    The MTCTE Procedure also states that “the effective dates for certification becoming mandatory for different products are notified by the Government separately.” Accordingly, the exempted products were due to undergo certification under Phase III and IV of the MTCTE regime from 1st July 2022 onwards.

  • Electronics and Information Technology Goods (Requirement of Compulsory Registration) Order 2021 (“CRO 2021”):
  • The MeITy mandates certification of the exempted goods under the CRO 2021 which also have to conform to the Scheme-II of Schedule-II of Bureau of Indian Standards (Conformity Assessment) Regulations, 2018.

Regulatory Overlap:

Due to the regulatory overlap which required the same set of products (exempted products) to seek the necessary certifications from both entities i.e. MTCTE and BIS CRO mandated by the DoT and MeITy respectively, the DoT sought to exempt the products as overregulation was seen to be delaying product launches and increasing the compliance cost for the industry.

Our Take

The decision of the DoT to exempt certain products from being certified under the MTCTE is laudable and showcases prudent regulatory forbearance. This in line with other reforms undertaken by the DoT such as relaxation of acceptance of test results/reports from labs accredited by ILAC signatories up to 2 years, increasing the validity of test reports by designated Indian labs up to 5 years, extension of timeline for enforcement of Phase IV, MTCTE, exemption pertaining to various parameters/interfaces of essential requirements under MTCTE, etc. Although the DoT has taken wide ranging reforms in equipment certification, businesses still face onerous compliance related problems like few testing labs, multiple overlapping regulations for testing of same equipment by different agencies like WPC regulations, trusted telecom products under the national security directive on telecommunication sector, and multiple product labelling guidelines under BIS regulations, MTCTE and Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules, 2011.

Multiplicity of regulations forces enterprises to shift their focus on compliance and not operating their businesses. Hence, DoT should consider leading an inter-governmental exercise to rationalize the information required from enterprises for the same/similar equipment under different regulations and regulators. This will help achieve a streamlined ecosystem and also enable expeditious launches of latest technological products available in the market.

Links:

PIB Press Release: Regulatory overlap in Mandatory Testing removed – one more step towards ease of doing business -https://pib.gov.in/PressReleasePage.aspx?PRID=1821530

Gazette Notification – Exemption from MTCTE -https://egazette.nic.in/WriteReadData/2022/235997.pdf

Practice Contacts

Ameet Datta - Partner (Practice Lead) | ameet@saikrishnaassociates.com

Suvarna Mandal - Partner | suvarna@saikrishnaassociates.com

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