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Right to Repair

By Amigos IAS

Why is it in the news?

  • The government is working on implementing a ‘Right to Repair’ framework to replace the ‘use-and-throw’ design philosophy of products.
  • Right to Repair allows consumers to independently repair and customize their products, even when manufacturers typically mandate the use of their services.
  • The aim is to promote sustainable consumption of products and reduce electronic waste (e-waste).
  • Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) will be required to share product details with consumers to enable repair.

 

Origin and Global Recognition

  • The concept of Right to Repair originated in the United States with the Motor Vehicle Owners’ Right to Repair Act of 2012.
  • It has gained recognition in various countries, including the United States, United Kingdom, and European Union.
  • In India, the government has called on 112 companies, including Maruti Suzuki, Volkswagen, and Philips, to ensure consumers retain the ability to repair their products.

 

Right to Repair covers various sectors and product categories, including:

·       Farming Equipment (e.g., tractor parts, harvesters, water pump motors)

·       Mobiles and Electronic Displays (e.g., mobiles, tablets, laptops)

·       Consumer Durables (e.g., water purifiers, washing machines, refrigerators)

·       Automobile Equipment (e.g., passenger vehicles, 2-wheelers, electric vehicles)

 

Need for Right to Repair

  • Promotes the extension of electronic device lifespans, reducing e-waste, which is a growing problem in India.
  • Supports India’s commitment to carbon neutrality by 2070.
  • Empowers consumers to make cost-effective choices and promotes consumer rights.
  • Stimulates local entrepreneurship and creates job opportunities in the repair sector.
  • Makes technology more accessible and affordable, helping bridge the digital divide.
  • Contributes to resource conservation and environmental protection.

 

Challenges

  • Manufacturers may resist Right to Repair due to concerns about intellectual property protection, revenue from repair services, and product safety.
  • Manufacturers often control spare part availability, making it challenging for independent repair providers.
  • Handling user data during repairs raises data privacy and security concerns.
  • The use of counterfeit parts can pose risks to product safety and reliability.
  • Repair should be conducted in an environmentally responsible manner, requiring regulatory oversight.

 

Way Forward

  • Governments should enact comprehensive right-to-repair frameworks mandating manufacturers to provide repair manuals, diagnostic tools, and spare parts to consumers.
  • Encourage manufacturers to embrace Right to Repair as a consumer-friendly and environmentally responsible practice.
  • Raise consumer awareness about their rights to repair and the benefits of repair over replacement.

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