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India will shift to USB C charging port for all smart devices


India will shift to a 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 secretary Rohit Kumar Singh said Wednesday.

Many advanced economies are already moving toward standard charging devices and ports. The European Union (EU) seeks to make USB-C port standard for all devices. On June 7 this year, the EU had passed a provisional legislation to require all future smartphones sold in the EU, including Apple’s iPhone, to be equipped with the universal USB-C port for wired charging by mid-2024, according to a Bloomberg report.

One of India’s concerns is that once EU makes the shift, obsolete phones and equipment could be dumped in India, a second official said.

Wednesday’s meeting was attended by representatives of 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, forest and climate change.

The consumer affairs ministry has separately formed a sub-group under the task force to examine the feasibility of uniform charging ports for wearable devices, such as smart watches.

The official cited above said stakeholders agreed on a phased roll-out of uniform charging port for “effective implementation and easy adoption”, adding: “Industry should overcome inertia in adopting a uniform charging port in the interest of consumer welfare and prevention of avoidable e-waste.”

An impact study is likely to be conducted by the environment ministry to “assess and examine” the impact of a changeover to uniform charging port on e-waste generation, the second official said.

“Globally, the shift is pivoted towards USB-C ports, so it would make sense for us to adopt it too. One important point is that the rate of technological obsolescence in the electronic industry is very high and what is in today is out tomorrow,” said Ajay Garg of Electronic Industries Association of India.

The Union government is of the view that the country should move to two types of standard charging devices, one for smart phones and other portable devices such as laptops and tablets, and another for cheaper feature phones, which has a larger market share, according to a recent letter written by the consumer affairs secretary to industry representatives, inviting them for consultations.

With a policy for common universal chargers, officials hope, phone-makers need not ship chargers in the box, as consumers will already have the requisite chargers and charging accessories, saving costs.