Home Minister Rajnath Singh today (February 19, 2019) launched a single emergency helpline number ‘112’ in 16 states and Union Territories.
Similar to ‘911’ in the United States, the helpline number would provide immediate assistance to services like police (100), fire (101), health (108), women safety (1090) and child protection.
The 16 states and Union Territories where the number has been launched are Andhra Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Puducherry, Lakshadweep, Andaman, Dadar and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu and Jammu and Kashmir. The emergency number will gradually be extended to other states as well.
While launching the emergency number, the minister said that the central government is committed to the safety of citizens, particularly women, for whom laws were changed to ensure the guilty is punished in a time-bound manner.
"The helpline number ''112'' will be activated across the country by next year and anyone in distress can reach the helpline by pressing a single key of phones which will be pre-programmed," Mr. Singh said.
To trigger an emergency response, one can dial 112 from phone or press power button on smartphone 3 times quickly to activate a panic call to Emergency Response Centre (ERC). On normal phones, the same can be done by long pressing ''5 or ''9''.
A "112 India" mobile app by the Ministry of Home Affairs was also launched on Google Play store and Apple store. The app provides a special ''SHOUT'' feature which will alert registered volunteers close to the victim for immediate assistance.
Besides launching the Emergency Response Support System, the home minister also kicked off, the Investigation Tracking System for Sexual Offences (ITSSO) and the safe city implementation monitoring portal to improve women safety situation in the country.
The system will provide law enforcement agencies at all levels - national, state, district and police station - to undertake real-time monitoring and management for completion of investigation in rape cases in two months.
Referring to the safe city implementation monitoring portal, the home minister said that it will instill a sense of security in women in metro cities.
"The government has identified eight cities for implementation of safe city projects in first phase at a cost of Rs. 2,919 crore. The cities are Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Lucknow and Mumbai. The projects are funded under Nirbhaya Fund scheme," he said.