The single emergency number '112' will be operational throughout India from January 1 to help people reach immediate services of police, ambulance and fire department. "Single emergency number '112' will be operational from January 1," a senior government official told PTI.
Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has approved the provision of a single number for various emergency services that would be similar to the '911' all-in-one emergency service in the US.
The service will also be accessible even through those SIMs and landlines whose outgoing call facility has been stopped or temporarily suspended. A person in distress will need to call only 112, which will direct the call to concerned departments immediately for help.
All existing emergency numbers will be phased out within a year of rolling out 112, depending upon the awareness about this new facility. In India, different emergency communication and response systems are in place - police (100), fire brigade (101), ambulance (102) and Emergency Disaster Management (108).
"Telecom operators have been asked to direct all emergency calls to 112. The process to direct calls made on to 112 to concerned departments is being worked out," the official said.
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. People will be able to feed '112' in panic button system which will also be available on all mobile phones from January 1 under law.
The panic button will enable users to make emergency call or send alerts to multiple numbers just by pressing a button. Besides, in-built GPS navigation system would be mandatory for all phones a year later with effect from January 1, 2018.
The emergency service calls will also be supported through a call centre like facility, which will have representatives speaking in Hindi, English and the local language.
"At present, there are call centres which handle emergency number calls. They will be asked to handle calls on 112 as well. Besides, requirement of additional capacity is being worked out which will be in place by January 1," the official said.