New Delhi, April 26: The Narendra Modi government has made an effective move to make mobile handsets a tool that can be used by women to protect themselves from attacks- sexual or otherwise. The panic button that had been proposed by Union Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi last year, has been made manadatory to be installed in all mobile handsets which will be sold from the next year. The button will facilitate quick access to the nearest redressal agency for the aggrieved woman. Also Read - What Happened to Rs 1000-Crore Nirbhaya Fund? 73% Went in Building Roads & Railways, Rest Unused; Reveals Report
The move comes after a similar move for one emergecny number ‘112’ for availing all services of police, ambulance and fire department. Effective use of technology to promote safety for women, is the aim of the government, said Communications and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Monday. “Technology is solely meant to make human life better and what better than using it for the security of women,” he said. He also said that the next move involved installing a global positioning system in all handsets. Also Read: All cell phones to have panic buttons for women’s safety, says Maneka Gandhi Also Read - Twitter Launches Custom Emojis to Spread Awareness on Domestic Violence Against Women
“I have taken a decision that from January 1, 2017, no cell phone can be sold without a provision for panic button, and from January 1, 2018, mobile sets should also have Global Positioning System inbuilt,” Prasad was quoted as saying by NDTV. However, the Ministry is still to notify about which agency would connect the number, in case a panic button is used in emergency. A notification of the Gazette of India said, “The feature phones without the facility of panic button by pressing ‘numeric key – 5’ or ‘numeric key – 9’ to invoke emergency call.” Also Read - Rape Victim Dies in Delhi Hospital After Allegedly Being Set Afire by Kin of Accused, 3 Arrested
Further it said, “Smartphones without the facility of emergency call button by pressing the same for long time to invoke emergency call or the use of existing power on or off button, when short pressed thrice in quick succession,” adding, “With effect from January 1, 2018, no mobile phone handset manufacturing company shall sell the new mobile phone handset in India without the facility of identifying the location through satellite-based GPS.”
The notification specified a feature phone as one which can access internet and play music, but lacked provisions of an operating system feature of a personal computer. No mobile company has, however, issued any statement relating to the notification, as of yet.