The present Narendra Modi led central government finally has launched the panic alert facility to facilitate help for people in distress, particularly women. Talks were going on for some time now to implement the facility. From March onwards, pressing the digit 9 on your current mobile phone for a little longer will send an immediate alert to your family and the police.
However, in the future handsets if the volume buttons are pressed together, an alert will automatically be sent. This alert will include the location information of the person in distress. A final call on the initiative-an idea of Woman and Child Development Minister Ms. Maneka Gandhi was taken after discussing with all the mobile makers and operators. However, there was an impasse on whether to install an extra button on mobile phones or to come up with a new application. But majority of the rural population in India still does not use a smartphone so operating an app would have been an extra work to do for the person in distress. Thus it wasn’t a practical idea. Nevertheless, after careful consideration, the solution was made that for even the most basic handsets, the telecom service providers would have an ‘upgrade’ feature to let users utilize the facility.
Smartphone users can download the software online wherein the mobile outlets will install the facility for free of cost for other handsets. A senior official close to the development was quoted saying, “every handset, as explained by the service providers, works on a program. It was felt that rather than having an extra button or providing an app, it was advisable to upgrade the existing program of the mobile phone”.
The senior official also said that both the telecom service providers as well as mobile manufacturers have come to an agreement on this. The mobile companies have been asked to work on the technological aspect for the handsets. The Telecommunications department however, will send a formal order to ask service providers to offer the software on the existing phones. Under this facility, while a gentle long press to the digit 9 will send an alert to the police, a mobile user will get to choose nine more people to send the same alert.