Government to relaunch common distress emergency system

After scrapping the tender for setting up an emergency distress call system a month ago, the Union Home Ministry has relaunched its efforts to put in place such a mechanism.

The ministry has invited potential bidders for a “workshop” on February 17 here to “understand industry challenges in bid participation” before publishing a new tender on setting up the ambitious National Emergency Response System under the Nirbhaya scheme.

The ministry had planned to set up an emergency number 112 by 2017 under the Nirbhaya Fund, named in the memory of the December 16 gangrape-murder victim of Delhi.

The system was aimed at meeting the current challenges being faced by police in the absence of an immediate emergency response system, specifically inclined towards women issues.

The decision to have a common national emergency number came after the December 16, 2012 incident and Justice J S Verma Committee recommending such a measure.

Though a ‘Request for Proposal’ from interested parties was invited in June last year and bidding process was in progress, the ministry cancelled the process in mid-January after finding  that the terms and conditions mentioned in the bid papers were difficult to meet.

 Before cancelling the bids, the ministry had cleared two companies after technical evaluations for further processes.

During the process, the ministry had held several meetings with states on how to implement the scheme and even send out detailed guidelines.

An official analysis had then shown that the ministry expects that the system would receive around five lakh calls per day in the first year of operation.

Emergency services
At present, the country has three emergency services 100 (Police), 102 (Fire) and 103 (Ambulance), which was designed at the time of a regulated telecom sector with only one telecom provider across India. A number of cities have also provided additional numbers for specific emergencies and this led to “confusion” in the public about emergency contact number.
However, the situation has changed and to avoid confusion, officials point out the need for having a single emergency call number.
DH News Service

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