For women in distress, police help will soon be available with just a press of finger on their phone as Union Minister Maneka Gandhi has managed to get mobile phone companies on board for providing panic button in handsets by March next year that will send emergency alerts.
Mandatory regulations in this regard will be issued by the Department of Telecommunications soon, Gandhi said. The plan that has been finalized with the consensus of mobile manufacturers will help address the issues of women security as both new and existing phones will be able to install the enhanced feature.
"It took us one year to finalize this initiative. We held several meetings with mobile companies and they have finally agreed to provide panic buttons in mobile phones," the Women and Child Development Minister said.
"If a woman feels she is in trouble, the only thing she has to do is press that button and it will immediately send a message to the police," the minister explained. Gandhi said while the new handsets will come with in-built buttons, the customers will be able to upgrade their existing phones at dedicated centers.
"We have asked the companies to built at least 10,000 centers across the country to facilitate mobile phone users in upgrading their phones and adding the button," she said. The mobile phone companies are working on technological solution for existing as well as future mobile phones.
Apart from this, the other measures being taken by the ministry for women safety include launching of a National Women Helpline number that will be common throughout the country to provide assistance to women in distress.
The operations of the helpline will be integrated with One-Stop Centers that provides police, legal, medical and counseling assistance to women who are victims of violence. The government has also prepared a scheme of special police volunteers in every village to involve young educated girls in community policing.
These girls will be specially trained to function as a bridge between the police and community women and will help in ensuring protection of women against violence of all kinds.