The Ministry of Women and Child Development finds the article published in ‘The Hindu’ titled “Centre hanging up on 1098; Children will have to call 112” dated 14th September 2022 to be mischievous, mala fide and contrary to facts. The report headline and its contents have been published with an intention to misguide and create confusion among the general public, without verification of factual position from the Ministry, which are contrary to what has been stated in the article.
The news that Children Helpline 1098 is being transferred to Ministry of Home Affairs and it would be operated under the ERSS Helpline no 112 is absolutely false. There is no such proposal under consideration of Ministry of Women and Child Development. The Ministry would continue to operate the Helpline 1098 in strict compliance with the provisions of Juvenile Justice Act 2015. The calls on 1098 would land at Children Helpline of MWCD and the child would be provided necessary assistance as is being provided at present. In addition to this, in case of requirement of any additional emergency support, like ambulance service, fire service, local police will also be alerted. Moreover following additional solutions will also be available-
In addition to voice calls, SMS service will also be available on 1098
Intelligent call distribution, call conferencing
Digital logging of all voice conversations
Caller location identification
Identification of most vulnerable areas of crime on integrated GIS map
The proposed changes in Helpline would ensure better integration with service delivery structures under JJ Act and would ensure prompt response. The Helpline 1098 has handled only 54.6 lac calls during the year 2021-22.
The existing Childen helpline 1098 is limited to only 603 districts out of 750+ districts in the country. The process of reaching out to child takes about 60 minutes to respond to children’s distress calls which is absolutely unsatisfactory. The call logs are maintained manually and lack interoperability with other services like Police, Fire, ambulance services leading to loss of precious time in distress situations. The Ministry intends to address these shortcomings in the new revamped system.
The Children Helpline 1098 will continue to be administered by the Ministry. The back-end technological integration with the ERSS 112, is expected to enhance the scope of access to emergency response services through voice call, SMS, and be GPS and GIS enabled. This interoperability between the ERSS 112, and Children helpline 1098 will ensure that all distress calls for help for or by children if landing on 112 shall be transferred to the Children Helpline in real time and immediate response action will take place. The detailed guidelines for operation of Childline are under process in the Ministry.