Common charger for all devices in India: What is it, how will it change things for you?
The government has called a meeting on 17 August to discuss the possibility of a common charger for all devices with the industry. Having a common charger for smartphones, laptops and tablets will mean less electronics clutter at home and a leaner burden of e-waste on the environment
Soon people may need to carry only one universal charger for their multiple devices instead of carrying separate ones for Android phones, Apple iPhones and tablets. The government is exploring the adoption of a common charger and has called a meeting on 17 August to discuss the issue with the industry.
The meeting with mobile makers and sector-specific organisations has been scheduled to assess the possibility of ending the use of multiple chargers in India and reduce the burden on consumers besides preventing e-waste, news agency PTI reported.
Why is the government considering a common charger?
Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the concept of LiFE (Lifestyle for the Environment) at the UN Climate Change Conference (CoP) held in Glasgow in November last year. The call for a common charger has evolved from that concept.
Modi said that the vision of LiFE is to live a lifestyle that is in tune with our planet and does not harm it. “Mission LiFE borrows from the past, operates in the present and focuses on the future. Reduce, Reuse and Recycle are the concepts woven into our life.”
According to The Indian Express, the Union Cabinet has also approved India’s updated Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC). According to the NDC, India has committed to reducing the emission intensity of the GDP by 45 per cent by 2030.
The latest consideration of reducing electronic waste comes in the series of steps taken by the government to meet its commitment to fight climate change.
Recently, the European Union announced the adoption of a USB-C port common charging standard for small electronic devices by 2024. A similar demand is in the US as well.
"If companies can serve in Europe and the US, why cannot they do it in India? Portable electronic devices like smartphones and tablets should have a common charger," a senior consumer affairs ministry official told PTI.
What has the ministry said?
In a letter to the industry and other stakeholders, Rohit Kumar, Secretary, Consumer Affairs, observed that due to the incompatibility of charging ports, consumers are forced to buy a separate charger and cable every time they purchase a new gadget.
In addition to the inconvenience to the consumer, the practice of separate chargers also adds to avoidable e-waste. Based on this rationale, the government wants to brainstorm the possibility of ending the redundancy of having multiple chargers in every household.
Who will this change impact and how?
Apple will be the biggest company impacted by the directive, if it comes into effect, especially in the smartphone segment. While several Android phone manufacturers have moved to USB-C chargers, Apple’s iPhone is still using the Lighting port which requires a different cable.
It is to be noted that the top five brands in the Indian market – Samsung, Xiaomi, Oppo, Vivo, and Realme — use the Type-C charging ports.
Apart from these, some entry-level phones, smartphones and feature phones, still use the micro-USB cable for charging.
The directive may also include laptops and tablets. While most laptops come with their own custom charging ports, brands like Asus, Lenovo, HP and Dell have moved to Type-C charging.
A common charger for devices across the spectrum will not only cut the e-waste but will also be more convenient for the consumer.
With inputs from agencies
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