To call an ambulance you need to dial 102, for police 100, for fire department 101 and so on a dozen of other emergency numbers to remember. This going to change very soon.

From January 1, 2017, a single emergency number ‘112‘ will be operational throughout India. This will eliminate the need for different emergency numbers and response systems along with offering a single entity to immediately reach services like police, ambulance and fire department.

112 to be India's Single Emergency Number, operational from January 1, 2017

Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has approved the provision of a single emergency number service that would be similar to the popular ‘911’ emergency service in the US.

Single emergency number ’112? will be operational from January 1. At present, there are call centres which handle emergency number calls. They will be asked to handle calls on 112 as well. Besides, the requirement of additional capacity is being worked out which will be in place by January 1,” a senior government official told PTI.

A person in distress can call 112, which will then directed to concerned departments immediately for help. He or she can even SMS to the emergency number and the system will learn about the location of the caller that will be shared with the nearest help centre. The service will have representatives speaking Hindi, English and other Indian local languages.

All existing emergency numbers like police (100), ambulance (102), Emergency Disaster Management (108) and Fire Brigade (101) will be phased out within a year of rolling out 112.

The government is making sure that the emergency number to be accessible to anyone at anytime. The emergency number will be even accessible from those SIMs and landline whose outgoing call facility has been stopped or temporarily suspended. Every telecom operator in the country has been asked to redirect all the calls to existing emergency numbers to 112.

Earlier the India government mandated all mobile phones launching in India from 2017 onwards to have a panic button and GPS. The panic button enables a user in distress situation to send alerts to their family members or the police authorities just by pressing a button in the mobile.

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