The government’s nationwide single emergency response (NERS) system was extended to 16 states and Union territories on Tuesday. The single emergency helpline number —- 112 —- will enable immediate assistance to anyone in distress.
The 112 helpline is an integration of police (100), fire (101) and women (1090) helpline numbers. The health helpline (108) will be integrated with it soon.
Launching the helpline, under the Emergency Response Support System (ERSS), Home Minister Rajnath Singh said the central government is committed to the safety of citizens, particularly women, for whom laws were changed to ensure the guilty are 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,” he said.
The 16 states and UTs where this was extended 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, Jammu and Kashmir. The helpline had already been launched in Himachal Pradesh and Nagaland.
To access emergency services, one can dial 112 on a phone or press the power button of a smartphone three times quickly to send a panic call to the Emergency Response Centre. For a normal phone, a long press of the ‘5’ or ‘9’ key will activate the panic call. One can also log on to the ERSS website for the respective state and send an emergency email or SOS alert to state ERC. There is also a ‘112’ India mobile app, which is available free on Google PlayStore and Apple Store.
The single number for emergency services is similar to ‘911’ in the US.
Singh also kicked off the Investigation Tracking System for Sexual Offences (ITSSO) and the safe city implementation monitoring portal. The system is an online module available to law enforcement agencies at all levels —- national, state, district and police station —- and allows the state to undertake real-time monitoring and management for completion of investigation in rape cases in two months.
“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,” Singh said.