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Dial 112: Centre launches single emergency helpline

India on Tuesday launched a pan-India emergency number, 112, along the lines of the 911 emergency number in the United States. The service, thus far, has been launched in 16 states in the first phase.

Union minister for home affairs Rajnath Singh and minister for women and child development Maneka Gandhi jointly launched the number as part of several women’s safety initiatives launched under the Nirbhaya Fund.

The fund was announced by the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government in 2013 following the gruesome gang rape and murder of a physiotherapy student in New Delhi on December 16, 2012. It was set up with an initial corpus of Rs 1,000 crore in 2013-14.

Additionally Rs 1,000 crore was also provided in 2014-15 and Rs 550 crore each in 2016-17 and 2017-18. The corpus transferred to the public account for the fund up to 2017-18 stood at Rs 3,100 crore.

Many countries in Europe and several other countries in other parts of the world also use 112 as their emergency number. The number 112, is part of the so-called GSM standard. GSM is the dominant mobile telephone platform in many parts of the world including India and all GSM phones can call 112 even when locked.

The emergency number is part of the of Emergency Response Support System in 16 states: Andhra Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, UP, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Puducherry, Lakshadweep, Andaman, Dadra & Nagar Haveli, Daman & Diu and Jammu &Kashmir.

“Very soon it will be implemented across the whole country. One can dial 112 or use a panic button on their phones or 112 India mobile app to connect to a single emergency services number 112 which will combine police, fire, health and other helplines through an Emergency Response Centre in states,” Rajnath Singh said.

The emergency response system can be triggered in smart phones through the power button (a dedicated panic button) when pressed three times quickly, dialling 112 from any phone; a long press of the touch key 5 or 9 in the case of feature phones; and through the 112 mobile app.

Gandhi and Singh also launched the Investigation Tracking System for Sexual Offences and Safe City Implementation Monitoring Portal. The government announced the approval of Rs 78.76 crore for a special project under the Nirbhaya Fund for strengthening DNA analysis capacities in the state forensic science laboratories of four states.

First Published: Feb 19, 2019 23:41 IST

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