Indian Government Agrees on USB-C Port for All Smart Devices


India will adopt USB-C as the standard charging port for all smart devices

Consumer Affairs Secretary Rohit Kumar Singh announced that India will switch to a USB type C charging port for all smart devices after stakeholders reached an agreement at a meeting of an inter-ministerial task force convened by the Union government. The government is conducting extensive consultations to transition to two standard chargers, one for all compatible devices and one for low-cost feature phones.

Universal common chargers for portable devices will not only make life easier for consumers but will also help to reduce the country’s massive amounts of e-waste. According to an ASSOCHAM-EY report titled ‘Electronic Waste Management in India,’ India is expected to generate 5 million tonnes of e-waste in 2021, trailing only China and the United States. “At the meeting, stakeholders reached a broad consensus on the use of USB Type – C as a charging port for electronic devices such as smartphones, tablets, and laptops.” It was also discussed that a different charging port for feature phones might be used,” Singh said.

Many advanced economies have already adopted standard charging devices and ports. The European Union (EU) wants USB-C ports to be standard on all devices. According to Bloomberg, the EU passed provisional legislation on June 7 this year requiring all future smartphones sold in the EU, including Apple’s iPhone, to have a universal USB-C port for wired charging by mid-2024. One of India’s concerns is that once the EU makes the switch, obsolete phones and equipment will be dumped in India, according to a second official. Representatives from the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur, the Maharaja Agrasen Institute of Technology, the Confederation of Indian Industry, the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, and the Ministry of Environment, Forests, and Climate Change attended the meeting on Wednesday.

Under the task force, the consumer affairs ministry has formed a sub-group to investigate the feasibility of uniform charging ports for wearable devices such as smartwatches. According to the official cited above, stakeholders agreed on a phased roll-out of uniform charging ports for “effective implementation and easy adoption,” adding, “Industry should overcome inertia in adopting a uniform charging port in the interest of consumer welfare and avoidable e-waste.” According to the second official, the environment ministry will likely conduct an impact study to “assess and examine” the impact of a switch to a uniform charging port on e-waste generation.

Globally, the shift is toward USB-C ports, so it makes sense for us to follow suit. The rate of technological obsolescence in the electronic industry is very high, and what is in today is out tomorrow,” said Ajay Garg of the Electronic Industries Association of India. According to a recent letter written by the consumer affairs secretary to industry representatives, inviting them to consultations, the Union government believes that the country should move to two types of standard charging devices, one for smartphones and other portable devices such as laptops and tablets, and another for cheaper feature phones, which have a larger market share. Officials hope that with a policy for common universal chargers, phone manufacturers will not need to ship chargers in the box because consumers will already have the necessary chargers and charging accessories, saving money.

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