“The government is considering introduction of a panic button in cell phones for women’s safety, and has asked all mobile phone manufacturers to work out the feasibility of such a feature”, Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi said.
“When we asked for suggestions about what precautions can the girls take to keep themselves safe and escape out of emergency situations, we were flooded with ideas including wearing specialized necklaces, bracelets and rings which had certain SOS message sending features.
“Why should we do that? Are women prisoners so they always have to move with these devices? How can we ensure availability, affordability and usage of these devices among rural women,” the minister said while addressing a ‘Student Parliament’ on issues faced by girl students.
She said considering the limitations of these devices, the government has come up with an idea of having inbuilt panic button in all cell phones.
“The phones will have a panic button which will be GPS connected. We are in conversation with phone manufacturers and the proposal is likely to be executed in few months,” Maneka said.
The administration is of the view that emergency response apps can take too long to access in a rush and configuring one of the existing buttons on a phone for the task would be much simpler and quicker, he said, noting that pressing the panic button will send an SMS to a set of numbers that will also provide location information.
Talking about the various schemes rolled out by the NDA government, Maneka said the focus is on initiatives such as ‘beti bachao’, ‘beti padhao’ and reservation for women posts in police stations to ensure an effective interface between the complainants and the police.
“The problem is not with schemes, we have enough of them. The task is implementation and we are focussing on the same,” she said.