112, India's Own 911 Number For All Emergency Responders, Is Right Round The Corner

05/10/2015 10:42 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST
A relative, looking for information on the fate of passengers following the derailment of the Delhi-bound Kalka Mail train, talks on his mobile phone near a counter in Howrah Station in Kolkata on July 10, 2011. A packed passenger train travelling at full speed derailed in northern India July 10 killing at least 35 people and leaving up to 100 injured after carriages were thrown off the tracks. AFP PHOTO/Dibyangshu SARKAR (Photo credit should read DIBYANGSHU SARKAR/AFP/Getty Images)

In India, if you have to call the police, you dial 100. The number 101 is for fire, 102 for ambulance and 108 for emergency disaster management. But things might become simpler in the near future. Like 911 in the United States, India will soon get a single number -- 112 -- that will cover all emergency responders.

The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has approved the proposal of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) for a single emergency number across the country.

The current emergency numbers will continue to exist for a period of one year.

According to reports, for now, all the existing emergency numbers such as 100, 101, 102 and 108 will continue to work as secondary numbers. That means, if you call on any of those numbers, it will be re-routed to the single emergency number 112.

However, the DoT plans to withdraw them gradually.

"These numbers will be closed in a phased manner (following a public awareness campaign)," the DoT said in its response to the telecom regulator.

In its recommendations, TRAI had earlier said, “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 — the first few minutes are crucial. It is likely that crucial time may be lost in figuring out what number to dial.”

As per the recommendations, callers seeking help should be able to dial ‘112’ even from mobile or landline phones where outgoing facility has been debarred or the service temporarily suspended.

Meanwhile, TRAI has also recommended that all mobile handsets should have GPS handsets incorporated in it so as to obtain more accurate location information of the caller.

This is the second TRAI has pitched GPS in all mobile sets. Earlier, the DoT had rejected its proposal saying that a large percentage of low-cost handsets in the country do not support GPS.

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