Maneka Gandhi
Maneka GandhiWikiCommons/Abhi

The government has asked phone manufacturers to add panic buttons in new and existing phones for the safety of women, Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi said on Friday.

While addressing the Lok Sabha, Gandhi added that all cell phones will have panic buttons. Explaining how the in-built button would work, she said that long-pressing the specific button would send an SMS to a pre-set emergency number.

"Every cell phone will have an in-built panic button. Now, all new cell phones will be made with panic buttons. But in case of all old cell phones, you can go to the person who owns the company or the dealer and they will adjust it for you. If a woman is in trouble, she can just press the button on the cell phone and she will immediately get help," TOI quoted Maneka as saying.

In October, while addressing a Youth Parliament, Gandhi said, "When we asked for suggestions about what precautions can the girls take to keep themselves safe and escape out of emergency situations, we were flooded with ideas including wearing specialised necklaces, bracelets and rings which had certain SOS message sending features."

"Why should we do that? Are women prisoners so they always have to move with these devices? How can we ensure availability, affordability and usage of these devices among rural women," Maneka said, according to PTI.

She added that this step is being considered keeping in mind the wearable devices come with limitations.

"The phones will have a panic button which will be GPS connected. We are in conversation with phone manufacturers and the proposal is likely to be executed in few months," she added.

In Lok Sabha on Friday, she also elaborated on the various other steps that the NDA government has taken for women's security she said that the government has set up 10 women crisis centres and planned to increase them to 660 in all districts.

Medical, legal and police help is provided to women free of charge at these centres.