On 9th January, 2023, the Bureau of Indian Standards (“BIS”) established and notified the Indian Standard ‘IS/IEC 62680-1-3:2022 Universal Serial Bus Interfaces for Data and Power Part 1 Common Components Section 3 USB Type-C Cable and Connector Specification’ (“Standard”) for USB Type C receptacles, plugs and cables.
According to the press release, the Standard is an adoption of the existing International Standard, IEC 62680-1-3:2022, and provides requirements for USB Type-C ports, plugs and cables for use in various electronic devices like mobile phones, laptops, notebooks etc. Further, the Standard has been established to assist with the Government’s mission to reduce e-waste and move towards sustainable development as it would provide common charging solutions for smartphones and other electronic devices, in turn, reducing the number of chargers per consumer.
The Standard has been established and notified under BIS’s power of establishing Indian Standards under Rule 15 (1) of the Bureau of Indian Standards Rules, 2018 (“BIS Rules”). However, as per Rule 24 (2) of the BIS Rules, the standard is voluntary and will not be binding until it is referred to in a legislation or made mandatory by a specific order of the Government (like the Electronic Goods Compulsory Registration Order).
Presently, no order/legislations have been issued mandating the Standard, however news reports suggest that the USB Type-C is likely to be adopted as the standard charging port in India by March 2025.
While from an environmental standpoint, the potential standardisation of charging ports appears to be a step in the right direction, however, there is a need to carefully assess the long-term and short-term implications of this move and the government must consider other relevant factors prior to the mandatory implementation of this Standard in India. For instance, the European Union, prior to amending its Radio Equipment Directive 2014/53/EU for standardizing chargers, conducted a detailed Impact Assessment and submitted the Impact Assessment Report which carefully investigates and analyses economic, social and environmental impacts in assessing the policy options. Other significant impacts such as impact on consumers’ perspective and convenience, effects on the industry, SMEs, innovation, competitiveness were also analyzed in the report. For example, the report notes that “the environmental impact from the fact that USB Type C cables and connectors are heavier (by 21.6% to Lightning and 237% to USB micro-B) are larger than the reduction from standalones sales of cables”. Therefore, while in the long run, the potential harmonisation of charging solutions is likely to benefit environmentally, it is important that all potential impacts due to the change in this policy are carefully analyzed by the government. A phased out implementation is ideal for the Indian context as most consumers retain their devices (and in turn, the chargers) for longer periods than average.
Press release: https://pib.gov.in/PressReleasePage.aspx?PRID=1889742
Bureau of Indian Standards Rules, 2018: https://www.bis.gov.in/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/BIS-Rules-2018_amendments_Sep_15102020.pdf
European Union’s Impact Assessment on amending Directive 2014/53/EU – https://ec.europa.eu/docsroom/documents/46757