Indians in distress will soon be able to dial 112 to get help during emergencies instead of having to rack their brains for separate crisis numbers. The new system will work just like the all-in-one 911 number in the US or the 999 one in the UK.
To recall, the DoT had approved 112 as the single emergency number back in October last year based on TRAI’s recommendations. Now the inter-ministerial Telecom Commission panel has given the green signal to it as well. The proposal will now be drafted by the DoT and has to be approved by the Telecom Minister.
An official source has told PTI that the 112 will replace all existing distress numbers within a few months rather than a year. The current crop of numbers will be phased out within a year of the introduction, although this will depend on the awareness of the new facility in India.
At present, Indians have to call 100 for the police, 101 for the fire brigade, 102 for ambulance services, and 108 for Emergency Disaster Management. The list also includes several state-specific numbers such as 1096 for crimes against women in Delhi and 1090 for police headquarters in Uttar Pradesh.
Even people whose SIMs or landlines have been stopped from making outgoing calls can dial 112, a relief for those stuck without balance. Furthermore, individuals can communicate through SMS as well.
The 112 system can also glean the location of the caller and share it with the closest help center which will have representatives speaking in English, Hindi and the local language.