The Indian government has decided to implement a new panic alert system for emergency situations wherein a person has to long-press the number 9 to send a message to the police and other contacts. The facility has been in the works for quite some time now and will finally be rolled out in March 2016.
Top government officials say that the function has the support of both manufacturers and telecom operators. Future phones will allow for the volume buttons to be pressed together to activate the distress signal. The alert can be sent out to a maximum of 9 people in addition to the police and will contain the location information of the person sending the message.
The new system has been created by Women & Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi, who recently held a meeting with representatives from various network providers and handset makers to decide how it should work. The main point of contention was apparently over whether there should be separate physical button or an app.
Sources within the administration told the Economic Times that the government was against an application being used as a large section of the populace do not carry advanced phones. A senior official explained that a software upgrade for both feature and smartphones would work out for the best as it would re-wire the device to send an emergency message when the number 9 is pressed.
Smartphone users will be able to download the update online, while people with basic phones can get it installed via outlets of mobile companies free of charge. The DoT has apparently sent a formal order to telecom operators asking it to provide the upgrade to its customers. Manufacturers have also been requested to integrate the feature within its products.