Pick up distress calls in 15 secs: MHA plan for Emergency No 112

A distress call on emergency number ‘112’ should be picked up in 15 seconds and ensure that the satisfaction level of callers should be more than 85 per cent

The Union Home Ministry is setting strict quality parameters for state governments for running call centres under ‘Nationwide Emergency Response System’ and has come out with a detailed guideline.

The proposed emergency number is likely to be operational next year and the government hopes that it would be of benefit for women in distress. At present, India 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.

As per the guidelines, the number of calls not attended by emergency vehicle should be less than five per cent of total distress calls. A Home Ministry estimate has earlier said that it is expecting five lakh calls per day in the first year of operation while it is expected to double in the next five years.

The Ministry is expecting an increase in number of calls to the call centre by 10 per cent increase every six months, according to the guidelines.

The average satisfaction score of citizens collected through feedback calls, text messages and other means should be more than 85 per cent while no caller should have to wait endlessly for response to their call.

Another feature is the random audit of recorded voice conversation of the call receiver and distressed citizen on clarity of voice, handling of situation and tone of voice. The call quality score based on voice audit process should be more than 80 per cent.

To boost the morale of the workforce, a quarterly award to the best performing call taker, dispatcher and supervisor should be given.

The project, under the Nirbhaya Fund, named in the memory of the December 16 gangrape-murder victim of Delhi, is aimed at meeting the current challenges being faced by police forces in the absence of an immediate emergency response system, specifically inclined towards women issues.

The states will have to submit a detailed proposal to the Home Ministry about their hardware and software requirement for running the call centre.

(An edited version appeared in Deccan Herald on Aug 23, 2015)

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