In May 2021, the MeitY invited comments from the public on a policy paper titled 'Circular economy in the electronics and electrical sector'. The initial deadline to submit comments on the paper was 31 May 2021, though it was later extended to 15 June 2021.
The increased electronics consumption and consequent increase in e-waste during the COVID pandemic underscores the importance of the issues highlighted in the MeitY's policy paper. In our comments, we highlighted a few issues that need the government's attention:
1. Importance of green public procurement: Green public procurement should be made the norm across all sectors by either notifying a separate national policy or amending existing regulations;
2. Tackling planned obsolescence: The government should prescribe only minimal standards to tackle planned obsolescence, so as to not harm innovation and investment in research and development;
3. Alternatives to regulatory standardization in electronics manufacturing: The government should consider using incentives (such as tax breaks) instead of regulatory standardization in its electronics manufacturing schemes;
4. Tackling illegally imported e-waste: Policies such as the e-waste rules and the hazardous waste rules should take into account illegally imported waste;
5. Prioritizing policies on e-waste re-use and recycling: Implementation of policies on e-waste re-use and recycling should be prioritized by the government, such as through cutting taxes on secondary raw materials and providing tax incentives to promote their utilization, and
6. Conducting multi-stakeholder consultations: The Committee for Circular Economy on Electronics Waste proposed in the Policy Paper should conduct multi-stakeholder consultations to develop its action plan.
We have explained all these points in detail in our comments submitted to the MeitY.
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