Indu Bhushan, the CEO of ‘Ayushman Bharat’, a flagship scheme of the government, speaks to The Daily Guardian about the role the National Health Authority is playing in monitoring data to fight novel coronavirus and help the underprivileged. Excerpts:
Q. What is the current situation and how the national health authority is dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic?
A. The response to the Covid-19 crisis is being led by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. We have prepared packages for testing and treatment of about 50 crore people in the country. We want to ensure that these families are not denied testing or treatment just because they can’t afford it.
Q. What kind of role do you think the states also have to play in combatting this crisis?
A. The state governments are leading this process and are on the forefront. Health being subject under state list of our Constitution, is being taken care of by our states in a highly efficient manner. The Central government is helping the state governments with guidelines, etc. We are supporting them with whatever they want and need. We are also helping state governments by providing them with precise data and we keep a constant watch on areas that show a high admission rate of Covid-19 positive cases.
Q. How’s the coordination being done with the states?
A. Coordination is smooth and is taking place at various levels. The needed sharing of data and adhering of protocols is being followed at all levels. The Centre frames the guidelines and the states follow them seamlessly. We are keeping a close tab on migrant workers travelling from one state to another and are trying to keep our supply chains functioning as smoothly as possible.
Q. As far as the private sector participation is concerned, how is the NHA actually working to increase its participation?
A. This is a very important question as private sector has a major role to play specially now with this pandemic at large. If you look at the Covid-19 response from the health perspective much of the burden is being born by the public sector. It is involved in around 80% of the testing and ‘Ayushman Bharat’ scheme is also present on the standby to help with the mechanics of it.
Private sector has to play a bigger role and here I would like to emphasise that they need to step in not only for Covid-19 treatment, but also for non-Covid-19 cases. As we all know a lot of public hospitals have become dedicated Covid-19 hospitals, those patients have to go somewhere else and they can’t wait. Therefore, we are roping in more hospitals.
Q. What is the technology that is being used?
A. We are very proud of our IT infrastructure as it connects around 50 crore people with more than 21,000 hospitals and 28 states and Union Territories. We have huge amount of data generated on an everyday basis that shows us number of people who are potentially at risk. We have analysed all susceptible groups and are bettering our infrastructure.
Q. Around a crore have been treated in the last year and a half, what do you have to say about that?
A. The credit of these treatments goes to our team and our IT framework. This government is very committed to digital advancements in healthcare and we are making sure that this particular vision is achieved. With this government’s dedication and support we will make sure that we are able to cater to our vast population in the most efficient manner and provide quality access to healthcare to each and every citizen of this country.
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Bank licences to corporates a ‘bad idea’: Rajan
New Delhi: Days after an Internal Working Group (IWG) of Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) recommended allowing large Indian corporates to enter the banking sector, former RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan and Deputy Governor Viral Acharya have hit back at the suggestion and questioned the timing for it. Terming the recommendation as a “bombshell”, in a blogpost, they said that although several recommendations of the report are worth adopting the one to allow corporate houses into banking should not be taken up. “To the contrary, it is even more important today to stick to the tried and tested limits on corporate involvement in banking,” said the article.
Foreign Secretary to visit Nepal on 26 November
Kathmandu: Resuming the high-level visit and exchanges with Nepal, India is sending its top diplomat to Kathmandu on 26 November. Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla will pay an official visit to the Himalayan country on November 26-27, Nepal’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement on Monday. The announcement was made in New Delhi too. The visit is in keeping with the tradition of regular high-level exchanges between the two neighbours and the priority India attaches to its relations with Nepal, India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said in its statement. Shringla’s visit comes after two back-to-back high-level visits from new Delhi by Army Chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane (November) and Research and Analysis Wing head Samant Goel (October).
Market opens higher, Sensex hits fresh high
Mumbai: The key Indian equity indices opened in the green on Monday with the BSE Sensex touching a new record high within just minutes into the trade. Healthy buying was witnessed in metal, energy and oil and gas stocks. Sensex touched an all-time high of 44,271.15 points. The Nifty50 on the National Stock Exchange was trading at 12,930.85, higher by 71.80 points or 0.56 per cent from its previous close.
Covid-19: Vibrant Gujarat summit may be postponed
The biennial Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit, organised by the Gujarat government to attract investors, is unlikely to be held this year, due to the worsening Covid-19 situation in Gujarat. The summit, considered the foremost among all industrial summits of Gujarat, may be postponed till January 2021.
A senior Gujarat government official told The Daily Guardian that Vibrant Gujarat would be held in the first or second week of January. However, given the pandemic situation at the moment, it is difficult to say whether the summit will take place in just a month and half’s time for sure. However, an official decision is yet to be taken. No announcements have been made about cancelling the January event.
Narendra Modi started the Vibrant Gujarat Summit in 2003 when he was the Chief Minister of Gujarat to attract foreign investors to the state.
Military storage bunkers spotted in Chinese village near Doklam
NEW DELHI: China’s new villages close to the Line of Actual Control, meant ostensibly for settling civilians from far-flung areas close to the border, are part of strategy to enhance its military infrastructure in the area, top sources said.
One such village has also come up near Doklam where military storage facilities have been observed, as per intelligence reports. Construction of the new hardened bunkers appears to be an effort at militarily reinforcing the larger Doklam region, the source said.
There are dozens of similar settlements along the LAC, most of them coming up in areas facing Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh. Part of their integrated model villages that the Chinese intend to put to dual use – for civil and military purposes, some villages however remain uninhabited and are only turning out to increase military infrastructure to cater to additional deployment of the People’s Liberation Army.
Shelters have also come up at Bumdro which is opposite Kameng. Six to seven concrete huts have been constructed at Bumdro near Domsongrong to accommodate PLA personnel during their patrolling activity in Mera La, Thag La and Yangtse Area.
China has also constructed a road from Tirkangto Shivung La. The work was being undertaken from uphill side of Tirkang village in the south west direction towards Shiyung La.
Farmers’ union refuses to budge, Punjab CM expresses concern
Expressing serious concern over the decision of one farmers’ union not to allow passenger trains to ply till the Centre accedes to their demands on the issue of farm laws, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Monday said this would put the people to major inconvenience and could have grave consequences for the state.
Reacting to the announcement of Kissan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee (Piddi) that they would not budge on their rail blockade of passenger trains till the farm laws’ issue is resolved, the Chief Minister said that, by striking this discordant note, the union was acting against the interests of Punjab and its people.
When all the other 31 farmers’ organisations had decided unanimously to withdraw from the tracks to allow both goods and passenger trains to move in the state for the next 15 days, this one union’s decision was not understandable, said Captain Amarinder, adding that this would alienate Kissan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee (Piddi) from the people.
He cautioned the Committee against taking such a harsh stand, which could lead to them losing the support of the masses, who had so far wholeheartedly backed the farmers’ agitation against the farm laws. “When the state government and every person in Punjab has been extending their full support to the farmers, why is this Union taking a stance against their own state?” he asked.
Given that both the Centre and the other farmers’ unions had taken conciliatory steps to resolve the crisis triggered by the agricultural laws, the Kissan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee (Piddi) should not do anything to derail the process of negotiation and discussion, he added. It was in the interest of all, including the farmers themselves, to find a solution to the problems unleashed by the central laws, on which every section of Punjab’s populace, as well as his government, was standing shoulder to shoulder with the farming community, said the Chief Minister.
The message that was emanating from the stand of the Kissan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee (Piddi) was that the union was not really interested in breaking the stalemate on the farm laws issue, Captain Amarinder said. In any case, said the Chief Minister, blocking a one-odd track would serve no purpose even for the Committee, which, incidentally, had chosen to stay away from the meeting convened by him on Saturday to urge the farm unions to lift their blockade.
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