NEW DELHI: User trials of panic button in mobile phones, which was set to be launched on January 1, is likely to start soon in some states. The feature has been launched as a security feature for the safety of women in distress.
Ministry of Home Affairs is coordinating the trials with states to ascertain that the system works efficiently and all glitches related processing of such alerts are removed. About 500 mobile sets with panic buttons have been launched in the market from April 1, 2017 and the numbers are set to increase in coming months.
“There have been some backend issues with the states like setting up of 24X7 response centre and responding to alerts. Trials will help in sorting these issues and putting a fool-proof system to address distress call at the earliest,” said a top official of the Ministry of Women and Child Development.
Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi, who has pressed for installation of panic buttons, had recently expressed her anguish over delay in the launch of the service despite the Department of Telecommunications notifying rules in 2016, making it mandatory for all mobile phone makers to install panic button in new smart phones starting this year.
Owing to demonetisation in November last year, mobile phone manufacturers had expressed difficulties in launching new phones in the market until the previous stock is sold.
“This was also one the main reasons for delay in launch of the service. Once user trails are over, service will be launched,” the official added.
The Ministry of Women and Child Development had taken up the issue of installation of physical panic button on mobile phones as one of the initiatives since June 2014. Based on extensive stakeholder consultations initiated by WCD Ministry, the ‘Panic Button and Global Positioning System in Mobile Phone Handsets Rules 2016’ have been notified by the Department of Telecommunications.
Under these rules, all new feature phones will have the facility of panic button configured to the numeric key 5 or 9 and all smart phones will have the panic button configured to three times short pressing of the On-off button. Further, all new mobile phones will be required to have the facility of identifying the location through satellite based GPS.