The Indian government has compelled through a new rule that mobile phone makers are to manufacture phones equipped with panic buttons. This was announced on Monday by the telecommunications ministry in New Delhi.

The rule applies to even the world’s largest manufacturers like Apple and Samsung. They have to be compliant by January 2017 followed by satellite-based location technology starting 2018. This is due to the rape problem in the country. It is one of the extraordinary measures the government has put in place to combat the rape problem.

According to a recent report, every four hours, the country averages one rape incidence. In 2012, there was the high profile case of a gang rape, beating and death of a girl on public transportation. Since then, rapes have been a topic of national discussion.

Though India has strengthened its laws around rape in response to the incidence and to curb further similar occurrence, this year has seen several brutal sexual attacks against women and girls. According to the Communications Minister, Ravi Shankar Prasad “technology is solely meant to make human life better and what better than using it for the security of women”.

The emergency feature would be activated by pressing a key on a smartphone or holding down the numbers 5 or 8 on a basic device, Minister Ravi said.

Author: Ope Adedeji