Since long, Indians had to memorize a plethora of emergency numbers, based on the situation. Thus, if 100 is the emergency number to contact police, then 101 is for fire emergency, 102 is for health emergency and 108 is for emergency situation related to disasters.
Soon, all these different set of emergency numbers would be phased out, and replaced with 112, which would be the default emergency response number for any situation in India.
In a way, it would replicate what 911 does in USA or 999 does in UK – a single, converged emergency response mechanism for any situation.
TRAI had actually recommended 112 as India’s national emergency number, which has been approved by the Telecom Commission. As per an unnamed official from Telecom Department, “Telecom Commission has accepted TRAI’s recommendation on single emergency number 112. It will now be drafted by the Department of Telecom and will require Telecom Minister’s (Ravi Shankar Prasad) approval. It will be rolled out within months rather than a year..”
112 Is The Universal Emergency Number
It seems TRAI has made an excellent decision to choose 112 as the national emergency number in India, as this number is already a globally recognized and used emergency number. Around 80 odd countries are actually using this number for all emergency needs; which include Canada, New Zealand, Turkey etc besides almost all European countries.
In 1972, European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations or CEPT recommended and standardized 112 for emergency response mechanism globally. In 1991, EU Council reconfirmed this norm for all GSM providers in Europe and worldwide; and in 2002, 112 was included in Article 26 of Universal Service Directive.
In US, several telecom firms automatically redirect 112 calls to 911; whereas in India, if you dial 112 right now, then a voice prompt will ask you to dial 100 for asking police help.
112 Will Reduce Lots Of Confusion In India
Besides the main 100, 101, 102, 108 etc emergency numbers, every state has their own emergency response numbers like 1094 for reporting and seeking help for missing children and women in Delhi; 1818 for women in distress in Delhi; 1096 for reporting crime against women in Delhi, 1090 for calling Police Headquarter helpline In UP and more.
By converging one single number for all emergency requirements, callers would find it easier and more comfortable to call. Besides, as per a recent Govt. research, children and women are actually scared to call 100 for various reasons. This fear shall also go away with 112.
Trivia associated with 112
There are several interesting trivia associated with 112: When it was first introduced in 1972, 112 was chosen because in old phones where the numbers had to be rotated to dial, 112 took least time.
Another trivia: 112 was chosen and not 111 or 222 because such numbers can cause accidental calls from children.
In several countries, dialing 112 for playing prank is a crime; and we hope some strict measures are implemented in India as well.
We will keep you updated as more details come in.."112 Would Be The National Emergency Number in India; 100, 101, 102, 108 To be Phased Out!",