It was the ill-fated night of December 16, 2012, when Nirbhaya was gang-raped in Delhi and later succumbed to her injuries, 13 days after the incident. The heart-wrenching tale of Nirbhaya shook the nation, in fact the world, and posed some serious questions about women safety in India.
The tech world also swung into action as it came out with a series of women safety apps such as –Himmatwala, Raksha, Pukar, CanvasM to name a few. All these apps ran on a similar platform, where it was required to list out the emergency contacts to alert, and then the GPS would help to locate your position.
Some apps also required to press a few buttons in order to raise an alarm and some apps could also ring a fake incoming call to keep the assailants at bay.
Whatsoever, but these apps turned out to be a dud, with few takers and having achieved little success in critical times. However, in the same vein, the government recently introduced the ‘panic button’, which makes it mandatory for all cellphones to be GPS-enabled by 2018 and a panic button should be configured to the numbers 5 or 9 on the keypad of basic phones. During an event of a crisis, a woman can press or hold those two numbers to raise an alarm.
But there are certain concerns, which need plugging in right away.
Firstly, even though the alarm will be raised but who will be at the other side of the fence to rescue a victim. What if connectivity turns out to be an issue? We may assume that just like Uber and Ola apps, which come embedded with a panic button and when pressed the local police gets alerted, the panic button also gets connected to the local police department. Anyways, who will be there to rescue a victim is still vague.
Secondly, with such a regulation, the prices of phones are bound to increase. GPS-enablement means the price of a cellphone will rise by Rs 200-400, which again means a hole in your pocket!
Thirdly, every phone manufacturer will have to design separate software for India, an additional task for the players. While Apple may find it easy to add a panic button but when it comes to android, it could be an uphill task as most of the companies use android phones and Google’s operating software. In addition to that, you might expect a delay in launch of certain device.