After more than a year of delay, finally, the implementation of panic buttons in mobile phones will begin this 26th January. This will be run as a pilot project in Uttar Pradesh, to begin with. If the project is a success, then 3 other states will be chosen for the next wave of the trial. The project was supposed to kickstart in January 2016 but got delayed due to a number of issues. One of the main issues were false alarms and prank use of the panic button.
Under this development, all smartphones are to include a panic button that someone in distress can press easily. If the smartphone cannot provide a panic button, it must provide the same functionality using the power on/off button. Feature phones can use either the numeric key 5 or 9 for the same. Joint Secretary of WCD Chetan Sanghi said, “Once, a user presses the panic button, five calls will be made to emergency number 112. Following this, five SMSs will be immediately sent to police authorities, and another three to five SMSes will be sent to family members of the victim. Nearly 25-50 volunteers in the vicinity of the victim will also be alerted through messages. The volunteers would be screened by the authorities and would receive an orientation on how to provide help to a woman in distress.”