High Number Of Feature Phones In UP Leads To Panic Button Launch Delay

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Implementation of a panic button on mobile phones in Uttar Pradesh has delayed again due to lack of inbuilt Global Positioning System (GPS) on non-smartphones. The roll-out of the feature was scheduled for on 26th January 2018 but failed again.

A panic button feature aims to help and save women in trouble. In case of an emergency, family members together with volunteers receive a short message alert from the victim.

The government has a  back-end mechanism in place whereby, when the user presses a panic button, 112 line receives an emergency call, and police authorities receives a message with the location details of the victim immediately.

The Telecom Department reported that unlike smartphones, the main challenge on feature phones is enabling the GPS location. Also, another problem that has led to the delay of panic button trial is the high number of feature phone ownership in Uttar Pradesh as compared to smartphone ownership.

However, the presence of GPS on satellites and its availability on mobile phones makes it easy to track the user’s location. Also, the government needs to invest in mobile towers especially in rural areas to ease mobile tracing.

Sources say that Women and Child Development Ministry (WCD) secretary will hold a meeting with Manoj Sinha, the Telecom Minister, to resolve the panic button issues and have the roll-out soon.  Also, WCD sources say that the meeting between the two ministries aims at recommending the panic button kick-off trial without the GPS on feature phones.

Other Reasons That Led To Panic Button Implementation Delays

In April 2016, the government issued a notice to all mobile phone firms to have a panic button on either key five or nine on the handset. If not on the numeric keys, the manufacturers were to provide the feature on the power-on/off button together with a GPS location from January 2017. However, the execution of the feature did not take place after the handset manufacturers opposed the installation of the GPS on basic phones.