From next January, all new mobile phones sold in India must include a panic button, the government’s telecommunications ministry has announced.
It is part of a campaign to help improve safety for women following an increase in the number of attacks and sexual assaults against Indian women.
“Technology is solely meant to make human life better and what better than using it for the security of women,” Communications Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told Bloomberg.
The panic button will work on mobile phones when the user presses continuously on either number 5 or 9. This will then initiate an emergency call to the police, the ministry explained.
On smartphones, the emergency call will be triggered when the power button is pressed three times in quick succession.
The Indian government also announced that from 2018, all phones will have to include a built in GPS system so that they can be easily traced.
The move comes following an increase in violent crimes against women and concerns over safety.
In 2014, 337,992 crimes against women in India were reported. Of those crimes, 36,000 were rapes, which represented an increase of almost 10 percent from the previous.
More recently, a series of horrific and high profile sexual assaults against women have forced the Indian government to take drastic action.
India has more than one billion mobile phone users and is the world’s second largest market for mobile phones behind China.