TRAI looks for single emergency number for India
Author(s): Harish K. MongaPresently, in India , 100 for police and 101 for fire brigade, 102 for ambulance and recently started 108 emergencies for disaster management – Ambulance service managed by EMRI (Emergency Management and Research...
Presently, in India , 100 for police and 101 for fire brigade, 102 for ambulance and recently started 108 emergencies for disaster management – Ambulance service managed by EMRI (Emergency Management and Research Institute) across more than ten states is becoming popular as an emergency response system.
Ultimately, India too have woken up to the urgency of having a single emergency response number on the lines of America’s 911, UK’s 999 and Australia’s 000 and European Union, Russia, Ukraine and Switz and others 112 was introduced as a common emergency call number during the 1990s. This number may be called for any emergency — police, fire or ambulance.
The emergency telephone number is a special case in the country's telephone number plan. In the past, calls to the emergency telephone number were often routed over special dedicated circuits. Though with the advent of electronic exchanges these calls are now often mixed with ordinary telephone traffic, they still may be able to access circuits that other traffic cannot. Often the system is set up so that once a call is made to an emergency telephone number, it must be answered. Should the caller abandon the call, the line may still be held until the emergency service answers and releases the call.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is planning to bring a consultation paper in this connection soon to kick-start the process of having a single emergency helpline where a call centre will receive all distress calls and then accordingly alert departments or agencies concerned depending upon the type of emergency. But there are challenges in its implementation particularly when there are various government departments involved in handling different types of emergencies.
In fact, the current emergency response system in India is not appropriate and it has been observed that people call up emergency number, normally police helpline 100, only to get diverted to other departments, which delays response time. Having a single emergency number will ensure that a person in distress does not gets diverted to other department or agency.
TRAI has invited public comments have been invited on making 100 or 108 as the single number for the entire country for various emergencies like fire or medical or accidents.
In view of the various shortcomings in the present system, there is a need to have a similar system in India too. In most developed countries an integrated emergency communication and response system is available that is accesses through a universal single number by their citizens.
Personally, I feel it should be 123. It is rhythmic with the children poetry,123 run to the tree, easy to pronounce and first three numeric digits.
India's telecom watchdog, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), has floated a consultation paper while inviting the public to send in their views on what should be the emergency number for all purposes like for calling police, fire or any medical emergency.
(Disclaimer: The views expressed by the author in this article are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of City Air News.)