Bomb squad van. Not quite what you'd expect. (Photo: JD Viharini)

Bomb squad van. Not quite what you’d expect! Photo credit: JD Viharini

There have been announcements over the the last year or two that India would soon have a toll-free national emergency number, similar to 911 in the US and 112 in many European countries, which connects you to all the emergency services—police, fire, ambulance, women’s helpline.

For now, India still has multiple emergency hotlines, including 100 (Police), 101 (Fire services), 108 (Ambulance networks) and 1091 (Women’s Helpline), but there are some variations from state to state. Some projects like Project Dial 100 are already launched in Andhra Pradesh. But it can be hard to connect.

To get this off the ground, the home ministry is working with the telecom department in building a centralized pan-India database for instantly locating any distressed caller on real-time basis, especially since it claims “location accuracy remains a challenge for mobile calls”.  We can only hope it comes together soon. It’s something that’s long overdue.

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