New Delhi (Sputnik) — India will launch a trial version of the "Panic Button" mobile phone application designed to help women in situations of distress. The trial will be launched to coincide with the country's Republic Day celebration on January 26. The first state to use the trial app will be the northern state of Uttar Pradesh which has reported the largest number of crimes against women over the last few years. Other states will follow suit in a phased manner.
"The pilot project will start in the state of UP from January 26," the Women and Child Development Minister, Maneka Gandhi told reporters.
Describing the mechanism of the "panic button," Joint Secretary at the Women and Child Development ministry, Chetan Sanghi told reporters that while phones sold on the market since 2017 have built-in panic buttons, smartphone users still have to download the "Panic Button" app in the phone. Older phones can be retrofitted with panic buttons. Pressing the panic button will send alerts to the emergency helpline number, nearest police station and to family members.
India's Department of Telecommunications issued an order in April 2016 that all mobile phones must have a buil-in panic button from January 1, 2017, and Global Positioning System (GPS) from January 1, 2018.