Govt in No Mood to Roll Back Directive on Mobile Panic Button: Prasad
New Delhi: Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has reiterated that all new mobile phones will have a panic button starting January 2017 and in-built global positioning system (GPS) from January 2018, but added the telecom department will discuss all issues with the industry to allay any apprehensions. The government, however, appears in no mood to back down from its directive as it seeks to provide security to women through technology intervention. “The government has identified January 2018 for the implementation of GPS in all mobile handsets manufactured. The order has been issued from my office and this has to be done,” Prasad said.
The statement comes after handset makers raised concerns that GPS installations in featurephones — mandated from January 2018 — will lead to a significant increase in phone cost. Handset makers though have backed the implementation of panic buttons in all new phones from January 2017 onwards that is much needed for ensuring women safety.
“The telecom department will have a discussion with telecom operators and stakeholders to mitigate their apprehensions,” he added. Handset makers have opposed GPS solely in feature phones on grounds that cost would rise by up to .₹ 400 — which is nearly as high as the lowest costing phone available in the market at .₹ 500. The Indian Cellular Association has asked the telecom department to reconsider the order mandating GPS installation in feature phones, and suggested an alternative telecom-network based GPS which can aid in tracking phone users.