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ICEA Urges Government to Classify Phones as Essential Services During Coronavirus Lockdown: Report

Ever since the Indian government imposed a fresh 21-day lockdown to contain the coronavirus, the sale and servicing of information and communications technology (ICT) products such as phones and tablets have been halted in the country. This is because these products are not in the list of essential items and services that will be accessible to the masses during the lockdown. India Cellular and Electronics Association (ICEA), which calls itself the apex industry body of mobile and electronics industry in India, has now reportedly urged the India government to include smartphones and laptops in the list of es`sential items and services, to restart their online sales, as well as repair and maintenance.

As per PTI, the ICEA wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, urging him to classify smartphones, tablets, and laptops as essential items. The objective is to get the necessary approval so that the sale of the aforementioned items via e-commerce platforms can be resumed. In addition to the online sales, ICEA has also put forward the request to include the service and maintenance of these products in the government’s essential services list.

The industry body has, however, clarified that it supports the lockdown measure and only seeks to resume the sale and service of phones, tablets, and laptops via e-commerce platforms. But in the case of tier 3 and tier 4 cities where e-commerce is not the preferred medium, ICEA seeks approval to sell these products from service outlets.

“We would also like to highlight that through mobile devices the government can also track citizens that are impacted by COVID-19. It helps the health authorities to better track the movement of the infected citizen. If their phones were to break down or if they were not to have a smartphone for whatever reason, they should have access to repair shops or stores to procure one,” ICEA Chairman Pankaj Mohindroo was quoted as saying by PTI.

How are we staying sane during this Coronavirus lockdown? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.

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