Govt allows import of mobile phones without panic button till end of February

Importers can import mobile phones without panic button feature till Feb 28.

The Dollar Business Bureau

The Department of Telecom on Wednesday relaxed mobile phone importing norms and allowed shipments of cell phones without a panic button or emergency calling feature till February 28.

“It has been decided by the competent authority that the import of mobile phone handsets without panic button/emergency call button feature prescribed as per ‘Panic Button and Global Positioning System Facility’ in all mobile phone handsets Rules 2016, shall be allowed till February 28, 2017 wef January 1, 2017,” DoT said in a statement.

Last April, the government had mandated that all mobile phones must have a panic button installed from January 1, 2017. According to the order, pressing the panic button will connect the users to a single emergency number 112.

The government has also mandated that from January 1 this year, no cell phone manufacturer will be allowed to sell new devices without the satellite-based GPS feature.

The concept of GPS and emergency button-enabled cell phone was floated against the rising incidents of rape in India. The Finance Ministry sanctioned “Nirbhaya Fund” with a vision to integrate mobile phone networks with police administration for the latter to immediately respond to any distressed calls within the minimum response time.

The government in its 2013 Union Budget announcement sanctioned Rs.10 billion to support the government’s initiatives towards protecting the women of the country.

A long press of a button or three successive presses of a single button can trigger the panic alarm. The government had asked manufacturers to enable the panic feature on both smartphone and feature phone.

The government said that the number 112 will be an emergency response, while other emergency response numbers such as 100 (police), 101 (fire), 102 (ambulance) and 108 (disaster management) will continue to operate.

The Dollar Business Bureau - Jan 11, 2017 12:00 IST