TRAI wants 911-like emergency system in India

The telecom regulator has mooted the idea of having a single emergency number, like 911 in the USA, in India.

In a new consultation paper, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has suggested bringing different emergency services like the police, ambulance, fire brigade, civil defense and disaster management under the same access number.

Currently, India has different short codes like 100 for police, 101 for fire, 102 for ambulance services & 108 for disaster management. In addition, because of the different telecom operators, not all numbers may work from all the telecom networks. Many people don’t know the respective short-dialing numbers.

“In most developed countries an Integrated Emergency Communication & Response system is available that is accessed 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,” the TRAI said.

“However, there are challenges in its implementation [in India] particularly when there are various government departments/agencies involved in handling different types of emergencies,” the TRAI added.

The TRAI has asked for opinions about the types of emergency services that should be available through single emergency number, identification of the single number, technical issues involved in identification & transfer of caller’s location in real time (particularly for mobile users), funding mechanism, language translation issues etc..