AIMRAs group of cell phone retailers advises Govt not to include smartphones in essential goods

"We have not requested you to shift the division of cell phones into important products," Arvinder Khurana, National President All India Telecom Retailers Association, told Piyush Goyal in a letter.

Updated: Apr 24, 2020 16:12 IST

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Hari Aditya

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AIMRAs group of cell phone retailers advises Govt not to include smartphones in essential goods

Mobiles are Not Essential Products

AIMRA, a group of cell phone distributors, has requested commerce minister Piyush Goyal not to accept smartphone handsets as important products. The body added that it did not advocate resuming selling offline across outlets. It comes at a time when ICEA, a group of smartphone manufacturers, is urging the government to enable offline app purchases and attach cell phones to the list of important products that have received approval from Meity. 

All India Mobile Retailers Association (AIMRA) said in its April 17 letter to the MHA it had demanded that cell phones be necessary for communications. MHA subsequently allowed owners of mobile shops to fix mobiles for the consumer. 

"We did not request you to change the category of mobile phones to essential items. We again reiterate we are not asking to change the category of mobile phones," Arvinder Khurana, National President All India Mobile Retailers Association said in a letter to Piyush Goyal.

"Human life is more precious than mobile phones getting converted into essential items," the letter's subject line said. AIMRA also said that it is not recommending resuming offline sales through shops. "We are very much aware of the ground reality and the efforts of the government to combat the deadly virus (No vaccine and No proven treatment of COVID-19) and the increasing numbers on an hourly basis. We do not want Mobile retailers and customers to risk their lives but we are ready to serve the customers by doorstep delivery," Khurana said.

Earlier this week, ICEA and CAIT had jointly written two separate but similar letters to Home Minister Amit Shah and Minister of Commerce Piyush Goyal encouraging the government to allow the selling and operation of mobile devices and their accessories through the country's offline stores. ICEA represents the likes of Xiaomi, Oppo, Vivo, Apple, Lava, and contract manufacturers like Foxconn and Wistron. CAIT (Confederation of All India Traders) represents 70 million traders and 40,000 trade associations of India. In the letter, Khurana said that mobile phone retailers are abiding by all the government guidelines and will follow the same as and when the Green zones are opened for business, practicing social distancing.

Since the inception of the mobile retail business, we have been serving our customers and know them by name and address. Being at a physical location, we are also in the same vicinity as our customers and can serve better than online channels where owners are not handling the customers at ground zero," said Khurana.

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