How close is India’s 112 to becoming US’ 911? Click to know

PW Bureau

The list of those who have joined the helpline include Himachal Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, UP etc

New Delhi: A total of 20 state and Union territories have so far joined the pan-India network of single emergency helpline number ‘112,’ that was launched in February on the lines of the US’ 911. The helpline can be used by anyone in India to seek immediate assistance during distress. The 20 states and UTs include Himachal Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Puducherry, Lakshadweep, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Dadar and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu, Jammu and Kashmir and Nagaland, a Home Ministry official said on Friday.

The emergency response system

The helpline is an integration of police (100), fire (101) and women (1090) helpline numbers and is being funded under the Central government’s Nirbhaya Fund. The Emergency Response Support System (ERSS) aims to develop a single pan-India emergency number, which is an internationally recognised number, to target all types of emergencies.

How does it work?

An emergency call to the number can be made by calling 112 or pressing the power button of a smartphone three times quickly. For normal phones, the call can be made by long pressing the ‘5’ or ‘9’ key. The panic signal can be received by the Emergency Response Centre (ERC) set up by states and UTs through a voice call to 112, email requests on state ERSS website or the ‘112’ mobile app.

The location of the victim can then be tracked using location-based services available on phones or through GPS for smartphones that are far more accurate.

The ‘112’ app also has a ‘shout facility’ meant especially for women, which can be used for enlisting the support of volunteers who have registered themselves with the state police for emergency response.

The government has earmarked a total of Rs 321.69 crore for the Emergency Response Support System, out of which Rs 278.66 crore has already been released to the States and the UTs from the Nirbhaya Fund which was set up after the 2012 Delhi gangrape case.