The Government of India has issued new guidelines for manufacturers that make it mandatory for all mobile phones sold in India from 2017 to have a panic button. This will enable the user to call for help during emergency situations and is particularly aimed at promoting better safety for women folks.
“Technology is solely meant to make human life better and what better than using it for the security of women,” said the minister for communications in India, Ravi Shankar Prasad.
For feature phones, a specific button like ‘5’ or ‘9’ might be programmed to ring an emergency number once it is pressed and held on to it. With smartphones, the same might be invoked if the user presses down on the power button thrice in quick succession.
Moreover, the officials have also stated all phones sold in the country starting January 2018 will be required to have global positioning system (GPS) built into them.
However, it is not known, as of now, where such emergency calls will land up, how soon help can be expected or in what form.
The industry too is yet to respond to the latest guidelines. Manufacturers might still have some issues meeting the 2017 deadline considering handsets meant for sale during end 2016, or early 2017 are already in the production lines. Further, meeting the new regulations could be particularly tricky for manufacturers with a global presence as it would entail them into developing devices tailor-made for the Indian market.
For instance, Apple and Samsung launch the very same models sold elsewhere in the world will have to go for special software tweaks with those to comply with Indian norms.
However, implementing the new ruling will be relatively easier for companies that solely operate in India or count on the region as among the biggest markets. It includes several domestic companies such as Micromax, Lava along with a few Chinese companies as well such as Lenovo, Xiaomi and so on.
India is considered the second biggest mobile market in the world with over a billion users. However, the crime against women has been on the rise in recent times prompting the government to go for greater reliance on tech to curb the trend.