Rising incidents of assault against women in India have forced the government to take a slew of measures. From installing more CCTV cameras to panic buttons on mobile phones, a number of women safety apps have also flooded the digital market.
In May 2016, Indian railways installed panic buttons in the ladies compartment on a Mumbai local train. However, most of these services were jammed by false prank calls which divert necessary attention from the genuine cases.
The Centre has decided to closely follow in the footsteps of Himachal Pradesh and Nagaland to install panic buttons on mobile phones which would further be connected to an emergency response support system.
TOI reported that the centre is all ready to announce the installation of these buttons on all phones across states. The pan-India extension’s first phase is likely to take place from February 19 onwards.
The Women and Child commission, Ministry of Home Affairs and the Department of electronics, information and technology will allow a person in distress to reach out to the nearest PCR system and select family members. He can then identify the location through satellite-based GPS.
All the panic buttons will be linked to a common emergency number 112. However, the idea of having panic buttons won’t be successful until the police back-end system of responding to distress calls is robust and firm.
MHA had released a statement last year in which it said that Rs 321.69 crore under the Nirbhaya fund was allocated for the implementation of ERSS across the country.
The ministry has often cited in the past that user trails of the panic button were being carried out in various districts of Uttar Pradesh which tends to have the highest rate of crimes against women.
Poor surveillance, spotty phone networks, the slow response rate to crime and technical glitches all act as impediments to the successful implementation of women safety programmes.