The Telecom Commission approved the number 112 as the single emergency number for India on 28 March 2016. This is similar to 911 of United States and 999 of United Kingdom.
With this, Indian citizens in distress can just dial the single-number 112 for all emergency services such as police, ambulance and the fire department. It will direct the call to concerned departments immediately for help.
The service will also be accessible even through those SIMs and landlines whose outgoing call facility has been stopped or temporarily suspended.
A user will be able to make communication even through SMS and the system will learn about the location of the caller that will be shared with the nearest help centre.
The service will be operated by a call centre like facility, which will have representatives speaking in Hindi, English and the local language.
All existing emergency numbers such as police (100), fire brigade (101), ambulance (102) and Emergency Disaster Management (108) will be phased out within a year of rolling out 112, depending upon the awareness about this new facility.
At present, different states of India have notified various helpline numbers for assistance to special categories of citizens. For example, Delhi notified 181 for Woman in distress, 1094 for Missing Children and Women, 1096 for Crime against Women, and Uttar Pradesh notified 1090 for Police Headquarter helpline.
Reasons to Adopt
It was chosen due to a variety of reasons. 100, which is one of the widely known numbers for emergency, was not recommended as it is associated with police and several sections of society, especially women and children, may not wish to dial it.
Telecom regulator TRAI suggested the adoption of 112 as the national emergency number in its recommendations submitted to the telecom department in April 2015.
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Who: Telecom Commission
When: 28 March 2016