Twenty states and Union Territories have so far joined a pan-India network of single emergency helpline number '112' on which immediate assistance can be sought by anyone in distress, officials said on Friday. The '112' helpline is an integration of police (100), fire (101) and women (1090) helpline numbers, and the project is being implemented under the central government's Nirbhaya Fund.
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. The single number for emergency services is similar to '911' in the United States.
The Emergency Response Support System (ERSS) envisages a single pan-India emergency number '112', which is an internationally recognised number, to target all types of emergencies. A panic button is already provided on all mobile phones, which on activation will trigger an emergency call to '112'. To access emergency services, a person can dial '112' on a phone or press the power button of a smartphone 3 times quickly to send a panic call to the Emergency Response Centre.
The Emergency Response Centre (ERCs) can receive panic signal via voice call to '112', email requests on state ERSS website or the '112' mobile app, the official said. Location based tracking of the victim can be done through location-based services of all phones or even more accurately through GPS for smartphones. In case of a normal phone, a long press of the '5' or '9' key will activate the panic call.
'112' India mobile app, is available for free on Google Play Store and Apple Store. People can also log onto the ERSS website for the respective state and send an emergency email or SOS alert to the state Emergency Response Centre. A total of Rs. 321.69 crore has been earmarked for this 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, set up following the infamous 2012 Delhi gangrape case, another official said.
Apart from the ERSS, the Investigation Tracking System for Sexual Offences (ITSSO) and the safe city implementation monitoring portal has also been kicked off. As per the Home Minister, 8 cities namely, Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Lucknow, and Mumbai have been identified in the 1st phase for implementation of safe city projects, which are funded under Nirbhaya Fund scheme at a cost of Rs 2,919 crore.
The Nirbhaya Fund was set up by the central government for projects specifically designed to improve the safety and security of the women. ITSSO would greatly strengthen the ability of states for analytics and prognosis for timely investigation and prosecution in rape cases. He added that "the safe city implementation monitoring portal will instill a sense of security in women in metro cities."
(Edited with PTI inputs)