Women across India would soon be able to call a four-digit toll free number in distress or seek counseling for a particular grievance.
The women and child development ministry had zeroed down on 1091 and 1092 as two possible national women helpline numbers.
"There is an
in-principle agreement on having a national helpline for women," a senior WCD ministry official said.
1091 is being used in many states including Delhi by police as a women helpline and 1092 by social welfare and women development departments for redressal of grievances by women.
Some other states such as Maharashtra have normal telephone numbers as women help-lines, resulting in service not being utilised to its maximum.
The idea to have one women helpline across India was mooted after success of children helpline --- 1098.
The helpline called Childline is based in Mumbai and receives thousands of call from across India, which is then diverted to call centers across 200 cities in India depending on the area from where the call has come.
"It helps in creating a national sector specific database for necessary policy interventions," said an official of Childline Foundation, the organisation that runs the child helpline.
Amod Kanth, general secretary of Prayas, a civil society organisation working in child related issues, said the women helpline will have to be different from child helpline as needs of adults is different from that of children.
"We want the women helpline to be linked with crises intervention centers to provide immediate medical and rehabilitation aid to women in distress," he said.
Agreeing with the concept of national women helpline, a government official said the final decision on the number (1091 or 1092) would be taken after consultations with the state governments whose would be important for the project to succeed.
"The state governments will have to provide infrastructure to provide relief to callers," the official said, adding that the helpline would be one stop relief cum counseling center for women across India.
© Copyright © 2013 HT Media Limited. All Rights Reserved.