New Delhi: India will switch to USB Type-C charging port for all smart devices after stakeholders reached a consensus at a meeting of an inter-ministerial task force set up by the Union government, Consumer Affairs Minister Rohit Kumar Singh said on Wednesday.
The government is holding a wide-ranging consultation aimed at moving to two standard chargers, one for all compatible devices and one for budget feature phones. Universal common chargers for portable devices will not only simplify things for consumers but also reduce the huge amount of e-waste generated in the country.
India is estimated to have generated 5 million tonnes of e-waste in 2021, second only to China and the US, according to an ASSOCHAM-EY report titled ‘E-waste Management in India’.
“During the meeting, there was a broad consensus among stakeholders to adopt USB Type-C as a charging port for electronic devices such as smartphones, tablets and laptops, etc. It was also considered that a different charging port could be adopted for regular phones. ” said Singh.
Many developed economies are already moving to standard charging equipment and ports. The European Union (EU) is pushing for the USB-C port to be the standard for all devices. In June of this year, the EU approved an interim law that requires all future smartphones sold in the EU, including Apple’s iPhone, to be equipped with a universal USB-C port for wired charging by mid-2024, according to a Bloomberg report. .
One of India’s concerns is that once the EU passes, outdated phones and devices could be dumped in India, the second official said.
Representatives of the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur, Maharaja Agrasen Institute of Technology, Confederation of Indian Industry, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry and the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change attended Wednesday’s meeting.
The Ministry of Consumer Affairs has separately formed a sub-group under a task force to examine the feasibility of uniform charging ports for wearable devices such as smartwatches.
The official cited above said that stakeholders have agreed to phase in the single toll port for “effective implementation and easy adoption,” adding, “Industry should overcome inertia in adopting the single toll port for the sake of consumer welfare and prevention of e-waste.”
The environment ministry is likely to conduct an impact study to “assess and examine” the impact of moving to a single toll port on e-waste generation, a second official said.
“Globally, this shift is focused on USB-C ports, so it would make sense for us to adopt it as well. One important point is that the technology obsolescence rate in the electronics industry is very high, and what’s out today will be out tomorrow.” ”, said Ajay Garg of the Electronic Industries Association of India.
The Union government is of the view that the country should switch to two types of standard charging facilities, one for smartphones and other portable devices such as laptops and tablets, and the other for cheaper feature phones, which it says have a larger market share. a recent letter written by the Consumer Affairs Secretary to industry representatives inviting them to consult.
Officials hope that with the common universal charger policy, phone makers won’t have to ship chargers in the box because consumers will already have the necessary chargers and charging accessories, saving costs.