A telecommunications ministry official told the news outlet that Apple's application was turned down but asked not be identified. Apple wants to sell refurbished phones in the country to appeal to price-conscious customers. A previous application was rejected in 2015 by the environment ministry.
Rivals opposed Apple's application arguing that it would trigger a flood of used electronics and counter the government's Make-in-India program.
The decision will be a disappointment to Apple. CEO Tim Cook identified India as major potential growth area during an interview with Jim Cramer yesterday.
Apple is also looking for permission to open its own stores in India, a market that is currently dominated by small local vendors.