India may soon have a single number for all its emergency services along the lines of 911 in the US.
Telecom Commission, an inter-ministerial committee by the central government, has accepted Telecom Regulator of India’s recommendations to use ‘112’ for emergency services such as the fire department, police ambulance services.
Sources in the telecom ministry say the new service could be rolled out within the year.
“Telecom Commission has accepted Trai’s recommendation on single emergency number 112. It will now be drafted by the Department of Telecom and will require Telecom Minister’s (Ravi Shankar Prasad) approval. It will be rolled out within months rather than a year,” the source said.
The service will be available even on landlines and cell phones whose outgoing call facility has been stopped or temporarily suspended.
Emergency contact can also be made through text messages. The system will then trace the sender’s location and relay the information to the nearest help centre.
A call centre-like system will take the emergency calls. Representatives at the centre will have to speak English, Hindi as well as the local language.
The number will replace existing individual numbers.
Currently, emergency response number for police is 100, fire brigade 101, ambulance 102 and Emergency Disaster Management 108. States have their own help line numbers. For instance, Delhi government has its own special numbers, such as Woman in Distress (181), Missing Children and Women (1094) and Crime Against Women (1096).