There were over 300,000 reports of violence against women in India in 2014, with 36,000 being rape-related
All mobile phones sold in India from January next year will be required to have a panic button following concerns about the safety of women in the country.
The Indian Government announced the new regulation (April 26), alongside demands that all phones sold from January 2018 must have a GPS tracking device built-in. Mobile phones will be required to have a function where an emergency call is triggered when a user pushes the numbers five or nine continuously.
A similar function on smartphones must be enabled by pushing the power button three times in quick succession. According to Gartner, India is the second-biggest mobile market with more than a billion users.
India’s communications and IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said in a tweet:
Approved yet another new policy. From Jan 2017, Panic Button in every new phone, to help our women in distress,with the power of technology.
— Ravi Shankar Prasad (@rsprasad) April 26, 2016
Its decision surrounds fears over the safety of woman after a number of violent crimes in recent years. The gang rape of a 23-year-old student on a bus in Delhi in 2012 sparked nationwide protests and stronger rape laws. The National Crime Records Bureau claimed there were 337,922 reports of violence against women in 2014 – a nine per cent year-on-year rise. 36,000 of these were rape-related.
A statement from the Indian Ministry of Communications and Technology said: “Technology is solely meant to make human life better and what better than … for the security of women.”