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‘Panic button’ on mobiles: Pilot project to start from UP on 26 Jan

New Delhi: A pilot project to test ‘panic button’ feature on mobile phones to ensure women safety will kick-start from Uttar Pradesh on 26 January, Union minister Maneka Gandhi said today.

In April 2016, the Department of Telecommunications had, through a gazette notification, made it mandatory for mobile manufacturers to provide panic buttons in cell phones by January 2017.

The order said the phones will have to have the panic button in the form of numeric key 5 or 9 to invoke emergency calls. Smart phones without the facility of an emergency call, too, will have to have the same provision, or allow use of power on or off button as the panic button.

However, implementation of the order was delayed by a year for various reasons.

“The pilot project (to test the panic button backed by a real-time response) will start in the state of UP from 26 January,” the Women and Child Development (WCD) minister told reporters at an event here.

“If it works in UP, it can work anywhere,” she quipped in a veiled reference to the high crime rate in the northern state.

Chetan Sanghi, Joint Secretary, WCD explained that all new phones in the country now have a panic button, but the back-end architecture is being implemented in Uttar Pradesh.

A smartphone user will have to download a which will send alerts if a victim long presses the panic button on the phone.

However, a person using a basic phone need only press the designated key, he said.

Sanghi said the government although was yet to notify which button on a phone would function as the panic button.

“Once, a user presses the panic button, five calls will be made to emergency number 112. Following this, five SMSs will be immediately sent to authorities, and another three to five SMSs will be sent to family members of the victim,” the official said.

Once the trial is successful in UP, it will be implemented in three other states identified by the and eventually in the entire country.

Sanghi said the objective is to ensure -India implementation of the panic button before the end of this calendar year.


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