New Delhi: Public comments have been invited on making 100 or 108 as the single number for the entire country for various emergencies like fire or medical or accidents. At present, there are different numbers for different types of emergencies, like 100 for police and 101 for fire.
Different countries around the world has single digit emergency numbers like 911 in USA, 999 in UK and 000 in Australia. Releasing the consultation paper on "Universal Single Number Based Integrated Emergency Communication and Response System (IECRS), Trai has sought comments if 100 or 108 should be set as the emergency number".
"In India, number 100 which is reserved for calling Police services is very popular. This makes 100 a suitable candidate for the choice of single number for IECRS," Trai said. However, 108 emergency service managed by EMRI (Emergency Management and Research Institute) across more than ten states is becoming popular as an emergency response system, Trai added. Trai has also sought comments if there should be primary or secondary access numbers defined for IECRS in the country on the lines of other countries.
"A secondary emergency response number also exists in some countries e.g. 112 in UK (in addition to 999), 112 in Australia (in addition to 000). Calls from this number are again routed to primary response numbers in these countries," Trai said. Trai said in most developed countries an integrated emergency communication and response system is available that is accesses through a universal single number by their citizens.
"In view of the various shortcomings in the present system, there is a need to have a similar system in India too," Trai said. It, however, said there are challenges in its implementation particularly when there are various government departments involved in handling different types of emergencies. Presently, India has various numbers for different emergencies like 100 for police, 101 for fire, 102 for ambulance and 108 for emergency disaster management. Trai has also asked if emergency number access be allowed from inactive SIMs or handsets without SIMs and how should the funding requirement be met for costs involved in implementation of IECRS.
"Should the cost be entirely borne by Central/State Governments or are there other possible ways to meet the funding requirements," Trai said. The comments can be send to the authority by April 5, 2013.