Finally, India seems to have woken up to the urgency of having a single emergency response number on the lines of America’s 911. This number may be called for any emergency — police, fire or ambulance.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is planning to bring a consultation paper in this connection soon to kick-start the process of having a single emergency helpline where a call centre will receive all distress calls and then accordingly alert departments or agencies concerned depending upon the type of emergency.

“Today, various states have separate emergency response numbers and in some states even police helpline 100 does not work properly. The Ministry of Home Affairs has also been pushing for a single helpline number in its bid to prepare better for police, fire, medical and other kind of emergencies,” said a senior TRAI official.

“We need a number that could be reached by all types of technologies be it landline, GSM or CDMA. Within next couple of months we will seek opinion from various stakeholders,” the official said.