Panic Button: Telecom Minister to Discuss Pricing Issues With Mobile Makers

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Panic Button: Telecom Minister to Discuss Pricing Issues With Mobile Makers
Amid worries that government's move to make panic button mandatory will increase cost of mobile handsets, telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad Thursday said he will take up the issue up with the industry.

"I will talk to them. India is a big market. For your information, I have discussed this with everyone. Manufactures who understand this have given their support. My expectation is that they will render their support in social justice and women security," Prasad told reporters Thursday.

Government has mandated that all mobile phones to be sold in India January 1, 2017, should have a panic button enabling users to make emergency call or send out alerts to multiple numbers by just pressing a button.

"Panic button means there will be a button (on phone), if any women is in distress, someone is harassing her then she can press this button. Local police station and prescribed number of her family will automatically get alert. This will start from January 1," Prasad said.

Besides, in-built GPS navigation system would be mandatory for all phones a year later with effect from January 1, 2018.

(Also see:  Panic Buttons on Cellphones a Must. What This Means for You.)

Feature phone makers expect that the price of the handset will go up by Rs. 200 after incorporating panic button in it. "We see prices of feature phone to go up by at least Rs. 200. This matters for people in the bottom of pyramid," GPA Group Chairman and Managing Director Vivek Agarwal said.

The company sells phone under M-Tech brand name and 90 percent of its business comes from sale of feature phones. Further, apex mobile phone industry body Indian Cellular Association has said GPS component would add cost of about Rs. 67 per handset and the required software would raise the overall cost in the range of Rs. 260 to Rs 400.

The telecom minister also inaugurated Rahuri Municipal Council of Ahmednagar district in Maharashtra linking its services with digital locker. With this RMC became first municipal council to attain the status of integrated with digital locker for the issuance of all essential documents.

The citizen under RMC area can now apply for the certificates like Birth, Marriage and Death Certificates online without going to Municipal Council and these documents will be available in the Digilocker signed to the citizens.

"Rahuri Municipal Council integrating services with Digital Locker is first in the country to do so. It is symbol of changing Bharat. This should be highlighted across country so that other municipal bodies also follow the suit," Prasad said.

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