A pilot project to test a ‘panic button’ feature on mobile phones will start from Uttar Pradesh on January 26 as per Union Minister Maneka Gandhi. The phones will have a panic button in the form of a numeric key to invoke emergency calls to ensure women safety.

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

For those who are unaware, back in 2016, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) had directed mobile phone manufacturers to add a panic button in their phones by January 2017. It was supposed to be implemented a lot earlier, but it has been delayed for some reasons.

Panic button

The DoT said that the phones should have a panic button in the form of numeric key 5 or 9, which will be easier to make emergency calls. Further, mobile phone users should also have the ability to enable or disable the panic button.

The smartphone users should download a mobile application, which will map the panic button on the phone and pressing the panic button will send alerts. While feature phone users need to press the key designated by the manufacturer. The government is yet to notify which button is to be mapped on the phone 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 police authorities, and another three to five SMSes will be sent to family members of the victim,” the PTI report stated.

As stated, the feature will be first rolled out in Uttar Pradesh. “If it works in UP, it can work anywhere,” the minister added in a reference to the high crime rate in the state. The DoT officials are expecting to implement the feature on a pan-India basis before the end of this calendar year.

Furthermore, the report added that 25-50 volunteers would be alerted whenever there is an emergency like situation. These volunteers will be screened by the concerned authorities and they will be receiving instructions on how to help the woman in distress.

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