Panic button will be mandatory for any mobile phones to be sold in India from 1, January 2017, on wards to enable users make emergency call easily. Also in-built GPS navigation system would be mandatory for all phones a year later with effect from 1, January 2018, Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said on Monday.
Prasad says “Technology is solely meant to make human life better and what better than using it for the security of 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 inbuilt GPS.”
The document signed by the minister said “feature phones without the facility of panic button by pressing Numeric key — 5 or Numeric key — 9 to invoke emergency call” shall not be sold in India.
“With effect from the 1, January 2018, no mobile phone handset manufactured (sic) company will sell the new mobile phone handset in India without the facility of identifying the location through satellite based GPS,” the notification added.
It also said that no smartphone should be sold in India without the facility of emergency call button. This button should function in a manner that 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.
However notification did not clear which agency would connect the number, but ministry said the decision will be taken soon.
In this year March, Indian government had proposed that people will have to dial “112” for emergency help from police, ambulance or the fire department.
A senior telecom ministry of India official said that this facility will in fact increase accountability of security forces in the country when women harassment cases occur. Ministry of Women and Child Development had last year asked all mobile phone manufacturers to work on such a feature.