New Delhi: With the health and safety aspects of using mobile phones and the radiation from its towers being a cause of concern for many, experts feel that reducing the energy transmitted per bit and adopting some precautionary measures can help in the long run.
"In India, internet speed in dismal. We will certainly need more spectrum. But as bit rate grows, EMF (electro magnetic field) radiation will grow. In absence of wired lines and wired internet, India will depend on wireless internet. The only answer is to vigorously reduce the energy transmitted per bit," Ashok Jhunjhunwala, Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering at IIT-Madras, said in a recent presentation.
"Low-level radiation cannot mutate DNA but can cause dielectric heating due to EM radiation absorption," he said at a seminar organised by Assocham.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) and the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) have concluded that there is no scientific evidence yet on any harm from mobile radiation within ICNIRP norms.
In 2012, the Department of Telecom (DoT) mandated the emission level of towers in India to be one-tenth of ICNIRP norms.
On further reducing emissions, Jhunjhunwala said: "It requires vigorous research and development. To reduce energy transmitted per bit by 10 or even 100 in times to come, DoT, as well as operators need to rise to meet the challenge by massive funding for R&D."
Dr.Vijayalaxmi, a member of the WHO review committee for EMF, said a few precautionar measures may help. "Limit the number of calls, reduce the duration of calls, use handsfree devices, use the landline more," she added.
Communications and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said: "We must have adequate information (about mobile telecommunications radiation) available in the public domain; whether radiation emission is good for health or bad for health. Radiation will always be there."
"I am open to take some more issues in the public domain. If it is required to take some more corrective measures, I am quite open for that. But the need for corrective measures must come out of objectivity," he added.