The government of India has issued an advisory to mobile phone manufacturers to make FM radio easily accessible on all mobile phones since people have access to information and entertainment through radio services, especially during emergencies and disasters.
The ministry of Information and technology in its advisory to the Indian Cellular and Electronics Association (ICEA) and the Manufacturers’ Association for Information Technology (MAIT) has advised to ensure that FM radio is accessible during emergencies and disasters.
The advisory is aimed at ensuring that FM connectivity is accessible to everyone during critical times.
As per the advisory, it should be ensured that wherever the mobile phone is equipped with an inbuilt FM Radio receiver function or feature, that function or feature is not disabled or deactivated but is kept enabled/activated in the mobile phone.
Also the advisory of the ministry said if the FM Radio receiver function or feature is not available in the mobile phones, it may be included.
It has been observed by the ministry that there been a significant decline in mobile phones with FM radio in recent years which has negatively impacted the poor who rely on free FM radio services as well as the government’s ability to send out real-time information during emergencies, disasters, and calamities.
Further the advisory also cited the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), which has recommended including radio in smartphones.
As per ITU, radio broadcasting is one of the most powerful and effective ways to provide early warnings and alerts to the public during emergencies and disasters.
The advisory stressed on the need for fast, reliable communication through FM accessible and enabled feature in mobile phones during disasters, in addition to standalone radio sets and car receivers.
It stated that this is crucial for saving lives, protecting livelihoods, and also making people to manage better with disasters.