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Source: The post is based on the article “Department of Consumer Affairs sets up committee to develop comprehensive framework on the Right to Repair” published in PIB on 14th July 2022
What is the News?
The Government of India has set up a committee to develop a “comprehensive framework” on the Right to Repair.
What is the Right to Repair?
About the Committee on the Right to Repair
The Department of Consumer Affairs has set up a committee chaired by Nidhi Khare, an additional secretary to develop a framework for ‘Right to Repair’.
This committee held their first meeting recently.
What are the issues highlighted by the committee?
Control over spare parts: Manufacturers have proprietary control over spare parts (regarding the kind of design they use for screws and others). This monopoly on repair processes infringes the customer’s “right to choose”.
Right to reclaim warranty: The committee has flagged how consumers often lose the right to claim a warranty if they get a product repaired from a “non-recognized” centre.
Culture of Planned Obsolescence: Manufacturers are encouraging a culture of ‘planned obsolescence. This is a system whereby the design of any gadget is such that it lasts a particular time only and after that particular period it has to be mandatorily replaced. When contracts fail to cede full control to the buyer-the legal rights of owners are damaged.
What are the key decisions taken by the committee?
The committee has decided to come up with a Right to Repair framework for products such as mobile phones/tablets, consumer durables and electronics, automobiles and farming equipment.
Under this framework, it would be mandatory for manufacturers to share their product details with customers so that they can either repair them by themselves or by third parties, rather than depending on original manufacturers.
Hence, once the framework is in place, manufacturers won’t be able to artificially or deliberately restrict the repair of their products, thereby forcing people to buy a new product.
Note: The right to repair has been recognised in many countries across the globe, including the US, UK and European Union.
– In the US, the Federal Trade Commission has directed manufacturers to remedy unfair anti-competitive practices and asked them to make sure that consumers can make repairs, either themselves or by a third-party agency.