Yay! India May Soon Have 112, A 911 Like Single Emergency Number
India needs it, and needs it desperately – A single emergency number that works Pan-India and can be dialed in case of any emergency, exactly like 911 in the US. And, it seems that it may soon be a reality!
Telecom Regulatory Authority of Indian has released a recommendation paper on implementation of “Single Number based Integrated Emergency Communication & Response System (IECRS)”. TRAI has come up with IECRS recommendations after consultations with various stakeholders in the country. TRAI had first come up with paper in March 2013 soliciting comments from various stakeholders, based on which the recommendations have been made.
The paper has recommended 112 to be the single emergency number that can receive calls from any landline or mobile number across the country. Once the call is made to 112, it will be routed to Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP), which functions exactly like a call centre. TRAI has recommended that each state and Union Territory in India should have atleast one PSAP each.
Currently, India has a distributed emergency call system with different numbers for different kind of emergencies, like 100 for Police, 101 for fire and so on. Once the single emergency number is implemented, even the calls made to these numbers, which will be treated as secondary numbers, will be re-routed to 112 and follow the proper protocol for the call. TRAI has recommended that once the calls to secondary numbers reduce significantly, these numbers can be withdrawn.
The best part about the single emergency number would be that calls can be made to this number even when the outgoing call facility on mobile phones or landline has been debarred or the service is suspended. So, irrespective of status of your phone, you will be able to make calls. In the US, 911 number operates exactly in the same way.
In addition to this, calls made to this number will be prioritized on mobile networks, so that the caller can get through immediately without any issues!
TRAI has also recommended that SMS based access to IECRS should also be provided to consumers.
Apart from this, the emergency number calls will have a facility where telecom networks will need to provide the location information and details of the caller to the IECRS, so incase the caller is not able to give the details, still help could reach them.
In our view, this is an excellent step forward by TRAI, and implementation of a single emergency is bound to help millions of Indians incase of emergency.
[TRAI press release]