Repairing gadgets like mobile phones and laptops is soon going to be a consumer right, as per an official statement by the Ministry of Consumer Affairs. A committee has been set up, chaired by Nidhi Khare, an additional secretary, to construct a framework for the ‘right to repair’.
The statement reads, “Farming equipment, mobile phones/ tablets, consumer durables and automobiles /automobile equipment, among other sectors have been identified for the right to repair by the committee.”
Even though Indians are eager to repair gadgets rather than replace them, the high cost of repairs and unavailability of parts make it easier to buy new products. Moreover, manufacturers don’t reveal full servicing information which adds to the misery of consumers.
The object of this framework, according to the committee, is to empower consumers and product buyers in the local market. It also helps to increase the trade between the original-equipment manufacturers and third-party buyers and sellers.
Besides promoting sustainability by doing away with the disposable gadget era, the right to repair states that customers must own a product completely after purchase. The new rule will help consumers repair and modify the product with ease and at a reasonable cost.
“Once it is rolled out in India, it will become a game-changer both for the sustainability of the products and as well as serve as a catalyst for employment generation through Aatmanirbhar Bharat (self-reliant India) by allowing third-party repairs,” an official said.
Key points of the Right to Repair framework:
- Tech companies should provide complete knowledge and access to manuals, schematics and software updates.
- The parts and tools to service devices, including diagnostic tools should be made available to third parties, including individuals so that the product can be repaired if there are minor glitches.
- When any gadget lasts for more than a particular period, it has to be replaced due to the unavailability of parts. This culture of ‘planned obsolescence’ won’t be encouraged.
- The framework is touted to bring an end to the monopoly of manufacturers in the market.
The right is already recognised in many countries including the US, UK and European Union.
The panel assigned by the Ministry consists of representatives from the government, manufacturers, legal experts and consumer organisations. The panel will take notes from all international markets and adapt the methods suitable for the Indian market.
“India plans new ‘right to repair’ rule for gadgets”, published by Hindustan Times on 15 July 2022.
“’Right to Repair’: Soon, consumers & third-party vendors may fix products”, published by Business Standard on 15 July 2022.
“Can skip gadget makers for support as govt readies ‘right to repair’ norms,” published by Times of India on 15 July 2022.
Edited by Yoshita Rao