How will the ‘Right to Repair’ framework help India?
[ET NOW EXCLUSIVE] Centre may soon come up with ‘Right To Repair’ under the Statutory Framework to protect interests of Consumers
Govt to develop ‘Right to Repair’ law for Cars and Gadgets etc
The Right to Repair plan has been formulated to minimise the e-waste ending up in landfills and to give the consumer an option to ‘repair and reuse’, instead of ‘discard and buy new’. The sectors identified in the committee’s first meeting on July 13, 2022, were farming equipment, mobile phones and tablets, consumer durables and automobile equipment for the Right to Repair mission.
The meeting highlighted the issue that consumers aren’t provided with manuals when they purchase a product, not giving them a complete understanding of how a product came together and its operation. Hence, companies will now be asked to provide consumers with proper documentation and have access to manuals, schematics and software updates. It will also require original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to give independent repair businesses equal access to repair documentation, diagnostics and tools as their authorised repair providers.
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Electronic waste or e-waste is discarded electronic products that include computers, home appliances, audio and video products and equipment used in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) that end up in landfills with no proper disposal mechanism in place. Disposing of such waste can have detrimental effects on the environment as the leachates from these electronics seep into the soil, polluting it. From the soil/ ground, the residual heavy metals, plastics and glass end up in our bodies, causing disorders that could last a lifetime.
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China contributed 10.1 million tonnes of e-waste, making it the biggest contributor. The United States came in second with 6.9 million tonnes. And then came India, with 3.2 million tonnes. Taken together, these three countries accounted for nearly 38 per cent of the world’s e-waste in that year. “The way in which we produce, consume and dispose of e-waste is unsustainable,” says the report.
In fact, the e-waste management system of countries such as India and China can be a representation of a wider problem in developing countries, where demand for goods including washing machines, refrigerators and air conditioners is rising rapidly. “In middle and low-income countries, the e-waste management infrastructure is not yet fully developed or, in some cases, is entirely absent,” the report highlights.
A global ‘Right to Repair’
‘Right to repair’ has been adopted by many different countries across the globe including the US and the United Kingdom. The Federal Trade Commission in the US has asked manufacturers to ensure that consumers can make repairs, either by themselves or by a third-party agency. Similar laws in the UK were also set up recently, which ask manufacturers to provide consumers with spare parts for getting repairs done either by themselves or at local repair shops.
With systems like Right to Repair in place, it is a win-win-win for the pockets, environment and health.