Apple knocks on IT Ministry’s doors for clarity on India plans

S Ronendra Singh New Delhi | Updated on January 12, 2018

The iPhone-maker wants some relaxations on import of certain components to manufacture devices.   -  REUTERS

Seeks to discuss ‘urgent issues’

With various reports coming in about Apple’s manufacturing and its sales plans in India over the last few days, the Head of Government Affairs of the company has requested to meet Minister of Electronics and IT Ravi Shankar Prasad on Monday to discuss ‘urgent issues’ about its India plans.

In a request letter to the Minister, the company has written that Ali Khanafer, Head of Government Affairs of the Europe, Middle East, India & Africa (EMEIA) region and in-charge of Apple’s India expansion plans, wants to discuss the issues.

According to sources closed to the development, Prasad’s office has received such request letter from the Cupertino-based company’s India operations team dated May 23.

“…in-charge of Apple’s India expansion plans, seeks an appointment to meet you for discussing certain urgent issues about our India plans,” the letter accessed by BusinessLine, said.

When asked, an IT Ministry official told BusinessLine that “the Minister has not taken any decision yet on the meeting. He may take a call in a day or two.”

Meanwhile, various sources from the industry said that the iPhone-maker has been going through lot of exchanges of communications with various departments of the government to get a clearer picture on its manufacturing plans in India.

There have been differences between the company and the government on tax issues, wherein the iPhone- maker wants some relaxations on import of certain components to manufacture devices. Last month also, Global Vice-President of iPhone Operations Priya Balasubramaniam and Dheeraj Chugh, Director iPhone Operations had met the Minister to discuss certain issues on manufacturing and sales.

The company had kicked off making its devices in India last week with iPhone SE, at its Taiwanese contract manufacturing partner Wistron’s plant, in Bengaluru.

Since its inception plans to manufacture devices in India, Apple has been to convince the Central government for special concessions for manufacturing in India, which according to many government officials and industry watchers say would not be possible for the well being of the industry.

The company’s application for exemption from compulsory 30 per cent domestic sourcing norms was also rejected by the Finance Ministry last year. Such ‘special treatment’ to a particular company may hamper other manufacturers’ future plans and those who have been manufacturing in India for long.

‘Make in India’ plan

Meanwhile, many sources from the government also said that Apple’s ‘Make in India’ plan is still on, and the government has asked them to consider Indian norms and regulations for all purposes – whether it is for manufacturing, sales or importing of products.

On asked for any update on the exchange between the government and Apple on tax issues, Aruna Sundararajan, Secretary at the Ministry of Electronics and IT, told BusinessLine that “We have shared our roadmap for indigenisation. Now, they (Apple) have to study and come back.”

Published on May 25, 2017

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