From being a hazardous device, mobile phones have become the new ATM machines at fuel stations, all thanks to demonetization. In a recent announcement by the Indian government, people who are unable to withdraw cash from the banks or existing ATM machines could head to their nearest petrol pump and withdraw cash up to Rs 2,000 by swiping their credit or debit cards through PoS machines. But, what happened to the age-old strict ban on the use of mobile phones at fuel stations? Busting the myth, the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) has assured that it is completely safe to use mobile phones at petrol stations. Also Read - Why smartphones must be classified as an essential product during COVID-19 lockdownsAlso Read - How is the Smartphone Industry Trend in 2021?
The government is now assuring people that it absolutely safe to use mobile phones at fuel stations provided one follows certain usage guidelines. The department explains that it is safe to use the devices at petrol stations if used at a certain height and distance from the fuel dispensing pumps. We want to promote digital transactions and bust any myths about phone use being overtly dangerous at petrol pumps, a senior government official said. Also Read - Flipkart Smartphones Carnival sale: Deals on Apple, Samsung, Poco, Realme, more smartphones
Other than specifying the places where the mobile phones could be used, petrol stations are also required to get PoS machines approved by DIPP before using them. The department further highlighted special precautions to be taken for two-wheelers because of the sheer proximity to the fuel pumps during payment transactions. ALSO READ: Amazon registers 10-fold growth in digital transactions after demonetization
For years, petrol stations in India have been carrying a notice prohibiting the use of mobile phones owing to safety concerns. However, there has been no evidence that using a mobile phone causes fire at petrol station unless there is a spark from the battery that could possibly lead to explosion. Hence, the reason why the department has asked to maintain a safe distance from the pump while using the device.
The clarification on safety standards comes amidst the growing struggle faced by people after the ban on old Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 notes to curb corruption and promote a digital economy. Following the demonetization announcement, there has been a surge in the adoption of cashless payments and e-wallet services in the country. In urban cities, where both the penetration of smartphones and the level of digital literacy is substantial, the move towards a cashless lifestyle has found many takers. However, smaller cities, towns, and villages where the concept of cashless economy is still new, the struggle is palpable. ALSO READ: Over 35 million online recharges done since demonetization: Paytm