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Committee set up to develop comprehensive framework on 'Right to Repair'

New Delhi, July 14 (IANS) In a bid to emphasise, the Lifestyle for the Environment (LiFE) movement through sustainable consumption, the Department of Consumer Affairs is taking step for developing an overall framework for the ‘Right to Repair’, an official statement said on Thursday.

The aim of developing a framework on right to repair in India is to empower consumers and product buyers in the local market, harmonise trade between the original equipment manufacturers and the third-party buyers and sellers, emphasise on developing sustainable consumption of products and reduction in e-waste, the Consumer Affairs, Food, and Public Distribution Ministry statement said.

The committee will be chaired by Additional Secretary, Consumer Affairs, Nidhi Khare, and members includes Joint Secretary, Consumer Affairs, Anupam Mishra, former Punjab and Haryana High Court judge and State Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission, Punjab, President, Justice Paramjeet Singh Dhaliwal, Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law, Patiala, Vice Chancellor, Prof (Dr) G.S. Bajpai, Chair of Consumer Law and Practice, Prof. Ashok Patil, and representatives from various stakeholders like ICEA, SIAM, consumer activists and consumer organisations as members.

In its first meeting held on July 13, the committee identified important sectors like farming equipment, mobile phones, tablets, consumer durables and automobiles, and automobile equipment for right to repair. The committee also discussed the companies that avoid the publication of manuals that can help users make repairs easily.

“Manufacturers have proprietary control over spare parts, monopoly on repair processes that infringes the customers ‘right to choose’. 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 right of owners are damaged,” the ministry said.

The committee also discussed how tech companies should provide complete knowledge and access to manuals, schematics, and software updates and to which the software license shouldn’t limit the transparency of the product in sale. The parts and tools to service devices, including diagnostic tools should be made available to third parties, including individuals so that the product can be repaired if there are minor glitches.

The LiFE movement calls for mindful and deliberate utilisation of products. The rationale behind the ‘Right to Repair’ is that when one buys a product, it is inherent that one must own it completely for which the consumers should be able to repair and modify the product with ease and at reasonable cost, without being captive to the whims of manufacturers for repairs, the ministry statement added.

–IANS

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