TRAI has today given its recommendations for establishing ‘112’ as a single number that can be dialled in case of any of emergency situation, similar to 911 being used in USA. These recommendations have been finalized after wider consultations with the stakeholders. The Authority had issued a Consultation Paper titled ‘Universal Single Number based Integrated Emergency Communication & Response System’ dated 15th March 2013 for seeking comments of stakeholders. Since State Governments are major stakeholders in the entire process of setting up IECRS, meeting with the representatives of State Governments, Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) was also held at New Delhi.
The salient features of the recommendation are:
- Number ‘112’ be adopted as the single emergency number for India.
- Calls made from a landline or mobile phone/device to the emergency number
‘112’ will be routed to a Public Safety Answering Point(PSAP), which are akin
to a call centre. The number of PSAPs in a State or Union Territory(UT) to be
decided by the State Governments/UTs; however there should be at least one
PSAP in each State/ UT.
- The existing emergency calling numbers 100,101,102, and 108 helplines to be
retained as secondary numbers. The calls made to the secondary numbers
should be re-routed to 112 for termination with an announcement to the caller
to call 112 as emergency number in future; Once calls to secondary numbers
reduce significantly, these numbers can be drawn gradually.
- Access to IECRS to be permitted even from those mobile/landline phones
where the outgoing call facility has been debarred or the service is suspended
- Calls to the single emergency number should be prioritized in the cellular
- SMS based access to IECRS should also be provided.
- All Telecom Service Providers(TSPs) will have to provide location information
and details of caller to the IECRS. For this purpose four regional database
centres, one in each metro city, to be set up in the country. BSNL to setup and
maintain these regional database centres.
- There should be a multi-sectoral agency having representations from MHA,
Department of Telecommunications(DoT), Department of Electronics and
Informations Technology(DEITY), Ministry of Health and Family
Welfare(MHFW), Ministry of Women and Child Development(MWCD) and other
concerned Centre and State agencies which can coordinate and help in setting
up of IECRS in the country.
- A trial version of PSAP based IECRS should be put in place as a prototype
before full scale implementation.
It is a welcome move by TRAI in the right direction. It may have come after much delay but it will go a long way in simplifying the process of getting help immediately in case of emergencies. Let us know your views through your comments below.