The IT ministry and the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) are learnt to have been alerted, as duty worth thousands of crores is understood to have been evaded through illegal and unaccounted imports and sale, which happens mostly in cash and without bills, thus avoiding GST.
The government feels that it is not only leading to revenue loss for the exchequer but is also resulting in loss of employment and investments as India has emerged as the second-largest market for smartphones globally. Also, customers are exposed to poor quality products, which fail to meet any quality standards.
The matter has also been raised by the India Cellular and Electronics Association (ICEA), which has said that curbs on the illegal imports will result in creating a large number of jobs within India, while earning tax revenues for the government.
Officers at the IT ministry are now looking into the matter, and it is expected that other ministries and concerned investigative agencies may also be roped in.
“We are ready to invest for tempered glass screen protectors in India, if the government is ready to curb illegal Chinese imports and create standards and fog-marking on the glass,” said Ashok Gupta, chairman of Optiemus Infracom whose company Ace Mobiles is an India licensee of accessories glass by Corning.
According to a report released by the ICEA, prepared in partnership with Feedback Advisory, the demand for tempered glass screen protectors in India was around 34.2 crore pieces in 2020, estimated on the basis of sales of smartphones as well as the replacement market in the year.
The report said this resulted in a market size of Rs 5,100 crore at the retailer level (per piece price estimated at Rs 150 through the formal channels after paying taxes) and Rs 15,400 crore at the customer end (per piece average price estimated at Rs 450 after factoring in retailer margins).
The report forecasted that the demand for the screen protectors is likely to grow at a CAGR of 10% till 2025, reaching 55.4 crore pieces.