In a pioneering move to combat situations of women in distress, the centre is set to roll out a panic alert to the police and others with a single button.
The Times of India reported that the SOS alert would be sent to the police and up to nine other numbers chosen by a user along with the location, by long-pressing the digit 9.
While this alert service would be most effective on a smart phone, authorities say that mobile phone manufacturers and telephone service providers have assured to install upgrades for basic handsets free of cost.
"Every handset, as explained by the service providers, works on a program. It was felt that rather than having an extra button or providing an app, it was advisable to upgrade the existing program of the mobile phone," a senior official told TOI.
"The upgrade will configure the phone accordingly so that each time the digit 9 is pressed, an alert is sent to the police and family members or friends of the individual," he added.
The department of telecommunications is likely to send a formal order asking service providers to offer the software upgrade on all existing phones soon.
According to TOI, the thought behind this initiative was of Women & Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi.
Economic Times reported that the idea of building a new app or a special button was scrapped in the past after the government made it clear that it won’t be as effective especially in rural areas where not many people own smart phones.