Arun S.

Thomas K. Thomas

New Delhi, Aug. 2

In a blow to unbranded mobile handsets being sold in the market, the Directorate-General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) will shortly issue new rules in effect banning import of phones that emit radiation higher than what is permitted under the Specific Absorption Rates (SAR) standards.

SAR shows the amount of radio waves absorbed by the body while using a mobile phone.

The Department of Telecommunication (DoT) has finalised radiation protection norms for mobile handsets and sent them to the Commerce Ministry for notification, official sources said. Currently, a large number of unbranded handsets from China and Taiwan, which do not conform to these radiation standards, are flooding the market in the absence of import norms.

The SAR adopted by the Government is based on the guidelines set by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP). SAR is measured in watts per kilogram (W/kg) and the higher the SAR rating, the more the radiation absorbed.

ICNIRP has stipulated that manufacturers must ensure that the SAR level of a cell phone does not exceed 2W/kg. These guidelines are followed globally by a number of countries including the US, France and the UK in a bid to limit radiation exposure to consumers.

All branded mobile handset makers, including Nokia and Samsung, adhere to the global norms but there is no check on handsets sold in the grey market. Once the DGFT issues the notice, the Customs authorities will ensure that all mobile handsets being imported into India have certification from manufacturers that they meet these standards.

This is the second major setback for handsets sold in the grey market after the Government earlier banned devices without proper International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) number.

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(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated August 3, 2010)
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