How demonetisation helped India debunk the myth about using phones at petrol stations

How demonetisation helped India debunk the myth about using phones at petrol stations

India's decision to invalidate much of its cash may have incurred a lot of discomfort to millions, but it has also unintentionally helped bust an age-old myth.

Indians no longer have to worry about whipping out their smartphones at petrol stations. The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion has told the country's Petroleum Ministry that it is completely safe to use mobile phones at fuel stations (known locally as petrol pumps).

Read also: Use of mobile phones at petrol stations do not cause fires: Experts

India, much like many other countries, has warned commuters for years about not using mobile phones at gas stations amid safety concerns. A wild theory is that mobile phones could emit sparks that could result in a fire. The myth has been debunked by many over the years. The Indian government is finally acknowledging it.

The rupee squeeze

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    A notice on the window of a shop in India telling customers of its new practice.

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    A bank teller counting notes as people wait to deposit and exchange 500-rupee and 1,000-rupee notes in Amritsar. The large-denomination notes were taken out of circulation by the Indian government last month.

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    Tens of thousands of people protested in nationwide rallies last month against India’s controversial move on high-value banknotes.

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    A vendor waiting for customers outside a jewellery shop in New Delhi. The cash crunch has put celebrations on ice.

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    A shop supplying traditional wedding dresses and suits in New Delhi. Business has been hit by the demonetisation move.

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    A long queue outside the State Bank of India in a district of Uttar Pradesh. Factories in rural and urban India have been hit by the cash crunch, struggling to pay workers, who in turn are cutting back on spending.

The move comes as Indians struggle to obtain enough tender bills, and have been stranded with no choice but to use mobile wallets and other epayment solutions that require them to use a smartphone.

Read also: Woman suffers serious burns while using phone at petrol station in Malaysia

"We want to promote digital transactions and bust any myths about phone use being overtly dangerous at petrol pumps," a senior government official was quoted as saying.

The notice comes amid safety concerns from many people and refinery companies alike about growing usage of smartphones at petrol stations and whether it was a safe practice.

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