In a bid to make a mobile phone handset an effective tool for self-protection, the government has said no such device will be sold from next year without a single key panic button that will connect to the nearest redressal agency with a single push.
This follows a similar move for one emergency '112' number for availing services of police, ambulance and fire department.
"Technology is solely meant to make human life better and what better than using it for the security of women. I have taken a decision that from January 1, 2017, no cell phone can be sold without a provision for panic button, and from January 1, 2018 mobile sets should also have Global Positioning System inbuilt," Communications Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said here on Monday.
The notification did not specify which agency would connect the number, but sources in the ministry said the decision will be taken soon.
The Gazette of India notification said from January 1, 2017, no mobile phone handset manufacturing company shall sell in India: "The feature phones without the facility of panic button by pressing 'numeric key – 5' or 'numeric key – 9' to invoke emergency call."
It also said: "Smart phones without the facility of emergency call button by pressing the same for long time to invoke emergency call or the use of existing power on or off button, when short pressed thrice in quick succession."
The notification added: "With effect from January 1, 2018 no mobile phone handset manufactured company shall sell the new mobile phone handset in India without the facility of identifying the location through satellite based GPS."