Emergency Response In India

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Emergency Response In India

In our review, we found that India is transitioning all of its emergency call numbers into one single number: 112. This number will allow people to reach police, ambulance and fire department. We will discuss this transition and how India plans to implement this nationwide.

We will also review the technology available for the call centers supporting emergency responders and relevant statistics that describe the current situation with emergency response in India.

In 2016, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) recommended the use of a single emergency number, 112, in India. People can use this number to contact police, ambulance and fire department.

This transition was supposed to occur in January 2017, according to The Hindu Business Line. The latest article we found suggests that this transition was delayed to March 2017. The existing emergency numbers - 100 for police, 101 for the fire department, 102 for ambulance and 108 for Emergency Disaster Management - were supposed to be phased out within one year.

This 112 service can be used even when the phone is out of coverage or if the phone service has been disconnected. Users can also use it via text or Short Message Service (SMS). A call will then be routed to the nearest help center. All phones will be required to have a built-in GPS navigation system to support this effort.

There seem to be inconsistencies on which emergency numbers to use in India. There are different numbers for ambulance depending on the state, for example.

We found a couple of websites that provide a list of emergency numbers: NewIncept and Indian Helpline. The latter website also provides a list by state.


The technology available for emergency response call centers in India seems to be sporadic and location-specific. One example of technology used by call centers and police in Uttar Pradesh, a state with 220 million people and 75 police districts, is an end-to-end software solution from Microsoft.

This software is based on Windows and Windows Server and includes Microsoft System Center, SQL Server, and SharePoint Server for the organization's Citizen Interaction Portal, and Microsoft Dynamics CRM, according to Microsoft website. It connects with police cars, and there is a plan in place to also connect police motorcycles, fire and ambulance services.

By using the same software system across the state, the police department in Uttar Pradesh hopes to improve overall response time to emergency calls to reach 15 minutes in an urban area and 20 minutes in rural.

Another technology used in Uttar Pradesh is the Hexagon's Intergraph Computer-Aided Dispatch. This tool will allow call center operators and dispatchers to manage 200,000 calls per day that come from a landline, VoIP, SMS, email, social media and mobile application. People can also upload pictures, texts and videos that can be tagged to the recorded call, according to Government Security News.

Mumbai police have been reportedly setting up a new, unspecified software for its main control room, according to The Better India. This software tracks the geo-location of the emergency callers. This feature will allow police to reduce response time and filter out hoax callers.

We found relevant statistics in several big cities/state in India:

1. Uttar Pradesh
The police in Uttar Pradesh typically receives about 100,000 calls per day. These calls take about three minutes to process, and 17,000 of those require a dispatch.

2. Coimbatore
In 2017, this city has 33 vehicles in its ambulance service, including a neonatal ambulance and two first-response motorcycles. This service receives between 120 and 130 calls per day, and its average response time is between 18 and 19 minutes.

3. Tamil Nadu
The government of this state installed an app-based system in its ambulances, according to a Times of India's article. This app can track the accident location and help reduce the average response time to three minutes.

Currently, there more than 100 ambulances in the city of Chennai alone. Most emergency calls happen in the early morning hours or between 7 - 9 pm, but around half of them are a true emergency in nature.

4. Delhi
The police control room in Delhi receives about 24,000 calls per day. The police department claims that its response time is between two minutes and 37 minutes. A survey conducted in 2016 shows that 78% of response time is between 0-5 minutes, almost 20% is between 5-10 minutes, and only 2% is between 10-37 minutes.

5. Mumbai
The police control room in Mumbai receives more than 500,000 calls on average. It has 50 call attendees per shift.

India is transitioning to 112 as its single emergency call number. As of February 2017, this transition seems to remain in progress. The technology available to emergency call centers in India revolves around new software to centralize different districts within a state or to enable geo-location, with reduced response time as its primary goal. Mumbai is a city with the highest emergency call volume, while Delhi has significantly lower call volume. The emergency response time across different cities in India varies between two to 37 minutes.