Technology

Radiation norms non-compliant mobiles can no longer be sold in India

NEW DELHI: The government, which had introduced stringent mobile radiation norms from 1 September last year, has now said in new norms that non-complaint phone makers will not be permitted to operate in India.

Companies manufacturing or importing mobile phones for sale in India will have to ensure that the handsets are compliant with new norms. In the EMF (Electromagnetic Frequency) Radiation Standards issued last year, mobiles to be manufactured from 1 September 2012 were to have one tenth of the radiation levels compared to the then mobiles.

The government had also said at that time that the mobile handsets with existing designs which were compliant with 2.0 W/kg averaged over 10 gram of human tissue would continue to co-exist up to 31 August 2013. Thereafter, only the mobile handsets with revised SAR value of 1.6 W/kg would be permitted to be manufactured or imported in India.

It is expected that this may also help in curbing illegal imports and help Indian manufacturers such as Micromax, Karbonn, Lava and Spice to avoid pricing pressure in the market since they will not compete with lesser known rivals.

Under the new rule put in place by the Communication and Information Technology Ministry, the exposure of radiation emitted from a mobile phone over a gram of human tissue should not be more than 1.6 watt if a consumer uses it for six minutes.

All companies will have to display radiation emitted from mobile phones on the handset in terms of SAR (specific absorption rate) unit. According to a Department of Telecom official, no fresh stock of non-compliant mobile phones will be allowed to be sold from 1 September.

Bureau of India Standards is also working on certain norms which are expected to provide clause for seizure of non-compliant handsets, the official said. These guidelines made India one of the select few countries in the world to have stringent, established in the interest of public health, for mobile towers and mobile handsets. Indian standards are now 10 times more stringent than more than 90 per cent countries in the world.

Furthermore, the Manufacturer?s mobile handset booklet will contain safety precautions. All cell phone handsets sold in the market in India will comply with relevant standards and shall be available in hands free mode.

A scientific study in India-specific context is being undertaken jointly by the Department of Telecom and Department of Science and Technology in collaboration with the Indian Council for Medical Research, the Ministry of Environment and Forests, and the Science & Technology Ministry to derive norms based on credible scientific evidence taking into account diversity of Indian social context.

While guidelines for consumers on mobile handset usage have been issued and placed on the DoT Web site (http://www.gov.dot.in), they include keeping distance - Holding the cell phone away from the body to the extent possible; using a headset (wired or Bluetooth) to keep the handset away from and not pressing against the head, and limiting the length of mobile calls and using text.

Radio Frequency (RF) energy is inversely proportional to the square of the distance from the source - being very close increases energy absorption much more. Other precautions include putting the cell phone on speaker mode and not carry a mobile phone that is close to the chest or pants pocket. When a mobile phone is switched-on, it automatically transmits at high power every one or two minutes to check (poll) the network.

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