A copy of a note by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) to mobile phone manufacturers, which was reviewed by Mint, gives the manufacturers a year more before their handsets that are not in line with the new radiation norms are phased out.
This is the latest in an ongoing attempt by the department to make mobile handset manufacturers conform to the new radiation norms. So far, the September 1 deadline persists for new models to comply with the Specific absorption rate (SAR) norms, while older phones can do so till August 31, 2013.
As per a notice by DoT in January, the SAR value had been revised to 1.6 watts per kilogram from 2 watts per kilogram (W/kg).
The revision came following a recommendation of an internal committee of the government comprising officials and experts from the DoT, the Indian Council of Medical Research, the Department of Biotechnology, the Ministries of Health, and the Ministry of Environment and Forests. The committee then submitted its recommendations in November.
As part of the new reforms, every handset manufactured in or imported to the country will be monitored for its compliance with the SAR limit, and no handsets with SAR count above the permissible limit will be allowed to be sold.
Radiation from mobile phones has been a topic of active discussion in the country, especially at a time when the device is so popular. We had reported earlier that there was a growing need for the government to tackle the mobile phone radiation problem on a war footing.
Some movement has already been initiated by the Delhi government with the impending introduction of radiation tags on mobile phones. In fact, in one of our earlier reports we had stated that beginning from September 1 this year, there would be more rigorous checks on the electromagnetic radiation emitted by mobile phones.
The SAR essentially measures at the rate at which the body absorbs energy when exposed to a radio frequency electromagnetic field or electronic devices using radio spectrum. On the topic of the extension of the deadline for old phones, the report further quoted Pankaj Mohindroo, National President of the Indian Cellular Association lobby group as saying, "This is just keeping in mind the (18-24 month) product life cycle of the existing models. The government has carefully considered the demand and supply position of mobile phones with the revised SAR value, time required to launch new models of mobile phones and phasing out of existing models."
Recently, it had also been reported that at an international conference organised by The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM), Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal confirmed that the cellphone tower radiation levels in the country are well within the prescribed limits; hence, safe.
Post their respective deadlines, only those phones complying with the revised SAR value of 1.6W/kg would be allowed to be manufactured or imported in the country.