Telecom Commission, on March 28, 2016, accepted recommendation by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) for making 112 as single emergency number for all services like police, fire and ambulance in the country.

However, as per the notification, current emergency contact numbers like 100 for the police, 101 for the fire department, 102 for ambulance are to be continued for a year.

Telecom Regulatory Authority of India had suggested the adoption of 112 as the national emergency number in its recommendations submitted to the telecom department in April 2015. Telecom Regulatory Authority of India had also proposed free of cost SMS based access to the mobile phone users to contact the authorities, in case of any emergency.

“In emergency situations every passing second counts, whether it is a burglary, theft, road rage, or a fire spreading, or a citizen struggling with a heart attack â?? the first few minutes are crucial. It is likely that this crucial time may be lost in figuring out what number to dial,” TRAI had said, according to The Hindu.

Currently, in most countries, 112 is a part of the GSM standard and all GSM-compatible telephone handsets are able to dial 112 even when locked or with no SIM card present.

Here is a list of emergency/rescue/management contact numbers currently in operation in India:

100 Police
102 Ambulance
101 Fire
108 Disaster management
181 Women’s helpline
1097 AIDS helpline
1098 Child abuse hotline
+91 9540161344 Air ambulance

But what is an emergency number and what would it mean to have the ‘911’-like emergency number in India? Here is everything you need to know about the new all-in-one emergency number:


1. What is an emergency number?

An emergency number is to help citizens connect to the most important services in any city – be it health, crime, or calamity. Instead of wasting time in asking people for help during crucial conditions, an all-in-one emergency number helps gain those precious minutes following an accident, or save lives if a building catches fire, or even in cases of thefts.

2. How many emergency numbers currently exist in India?

At present, there are different emergency numbers for different purposes in India including- police ‘100’, fire brigade ‘101’, ambulance ‘102’, and Emergency Disaster Management ‘108’. There are also some state-specific helpline numbers for providing assistance to special categories of citizens like Woman in distress – ‘181 (Delhi), Missing Children and
Women – 1094 (Delhi), Crime Against Women – 1096 (Delhi), Police Headquarter helpline – 1090 (Uttar Pradesh) etc.

3. What will a single all-in-one emergency number mean?

When ‘112’ is rolled out in the coming months, it would help citizens raise an alarm about distressing situations in a very convenient manner and also make authorities respond promptly. For example, for people like the elderly, a single number would connect them to both the police or the ambulance in unexpected situations. This will also help the senior citizens avoid the pain of remembering multiple numbers respond to untoward incidents in a timely manner.

4. How will the new emergency number work?

All that one needs to do is call ‘112’ and the representative will direct you to the concerned department immediately for help. ‘112’ can be dialled from both mobile phones and landlines. The service will also be made accessible to those SIMs or landlines whose outgoing call facility has been barred or temporarily suspended. Users will also be able to make communication through SMS and the responding system will detect location of the caller and share it with the nearest help center. The service will be operated in call center-like facility and representatives will be able to provide support in Hindi, English, and other local languages.

5. What will happen to the existing emergency numbers?

All the existing emergency numbers, including the state-specific ones will be phased out within a year of implementing the new ‘112’ number. This will be done based on the awareness about the new number.

6. When will the government implement the new emergency number?

Unlike the earlier estimated time of one year, the new number will be rolled out within months.

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