Monday, November 29, 1999

Govt curbs import of used e-goods through charity route

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New Delhi, May 16 (PTI) In a step taken to check dumping of used electronic items from other countries in India, the Centre has restricted the import of second-hand laptops, computers and other e-peripherals through the charity route. Until now, import of second-hand computers, laptops and computer peripherals, including printers, plotters, scanners, monitors, keyboards and storage units, for donation to government schools, charitable hospitals, libraries and publicly-funded R&D projects had been free. While such imports were restricted (but not banned) in general as hazardous items, community information centres and adult education centres run by the government were allowed to bring them in freely. However, concerned by the growing amount of e-waste, a Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) directive put restrictions on the import, which would now be allowed on a case-by-case basis. According to an estimate, around 600 tonnes of e-waste had entered the country over six months in 2009 under the guise of charity. It was estimated that the US, alone, exported nearly 70 per cent of the e-waste to the country as donations to educational institutions. Various NGOs have alleged that developed nations deliberately mix faulty pieces in consignments to unorganised sectors, posing health risks. To keep a check on such "charity dumps", the Environment Ministry has already prepared a draft for the E-waste (Management and Handling) Rules 2010. Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh had recently said in the Rajya Sabha that he was personally against the import of second-hand computers in the name of charity, as they posed a danger to the environment as well as human health.

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