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India favours uniform charging ports for electronics, wearables, and cellphones

The Department of Consumer Affairs in India is in favour of giving all electronics, including wearables, a standard charging connector. India’s action comes a few months after European Union regulations mandating and approving the introduction of a single universal charger for a variety of electronic devices, including Apple iPhones, were imposed and approved.

Only a small number of Android smartphones use micro-USB; the majority have USB Type-C ports. Apple iPhones continue to have a unique Lightning port. Even Apple will have to transition to the Type-C connection in order to sell iPhones in the EU.

The Central Inter-Ministerial Task Force was led by Rohit Kumar Singh, Secretary of the Department of Consumer Affairs, who looked at the issue of uniformity in charging ports of electronic devices. He suggested that the industry overcome its resistance to adopting a uniform charging port in the interest of protecting consumers and preventing avoidable e-waste. 

Representatives from business organisations like MAIT, FICCI, and CII, educational institutions like IIT Kanpur and IIT (BHU), and Central Government Ministries like the Ministry of Environment, Forests, and Climate Change present at this meeting (MoEFCC).

The participant agreed to adopt USB Type-C as a charging port for electronic devices such as laptops, tablets, and smartphones during the conference. However, they discussed the possibility of using a separate charging connector for feature phones.

The Department has also chosen to create a sub-group to investigate the viability of a standard charging port for wearables, which will include members from industry organisations, academic institutions, etc. 

Every wearable, such as a fitness band or wristwatch, comes with a unique charger. Unexpectedly, different versions from the same manufacturer have different chargers.

To evaluate and investigate the potential effects of standard charging ports in electronic devices with reference to e-waste, the MoEFCC may perform an impact study. 

Participants decided that the standard charging port might be introduced gradually to provide for a smooth transition between industry use and consumer adoption.

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