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NITI Aayog Announces Development Of 1.5 Lakh Health And Community Centres

The community centres will help the patients access a higher level of delivery service system

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NITI Aayog announced the development of 1.5 lakh health and community centres under the Ayushman Bharat over the next four years to screen the population for diseases including Hypertension, Diabetes, Breast and Cervical Cancer. The community centres will help the patients access a higher level of delivery service system. The announcement was made at the Tech4Transformation 2.0 conclave held by the Tata Trusts on Wednesday. 

The second edition of the Tata Trusts’ technology conclave brought together government representatives, industry leaders, innovators and philanthropists to discuss and debate the different ways in which technology can be adopted in initiatives for social impact.

Speaking about the upcoming health centres, Mr. Rakesh Ranjan, DDG (Evaluation) & Sr. Consultant, NITI Aayog, Govt. of India, said, “This is a very big initiative which will be achieved through green-field projects or by upgrading existing public health centres. We have already established 2,500 centres across the country of which 600 are in the 117 Aspirational Districts identified by NITI Aayog. The target is to set up 15, 000 such centres this year.”

Mr. Burzis Taraporevala, Senior Advisor, Tata Trusts, said, “Technology is transforming our lives and it is here to stay. Technology has long been applied in industry and businesses and it is important that the social sector also embrace it for effective implementation of social programmes and in measuring their outcomes.”

Technology plays an integral role in the Tata Trusts’ mission to transform the lives of the communities it serves. 

The conclave began with a discussion on ‘Technology for system strengthening - Is it a choice anymore’ moderated by Mr. Venkat Changavalli, Senior Advisor, Tata Trusts. Mr. Sanjay Deshmukh, Secretary for Medical Education, Govt. of India, Rupesh Goyal, Product Management and Strategic Initiatives in Healthcare Products and Platforms (HPP), Tata Consultancy Services, Pompy Sridhar, India Director, MSD for Mothers, Satish Sangameswaran, Principal Program Manager, Microsoft Research Labs participated in the panel to discuss current challenges in the primary healthcare, Ayushman Bharat, Digital Nerve Centre, project ASMAN and collaborations for technology upscale. 

The panel brought to light the need for greater collaboration, partnerships and institutionalization of processes to achieve scale and make it sustainable. The need for collection of quality data for improved analysis in the healthcare sector, including maternal and childcare was also highlighted during the discussion. 

The next panel, ‘Technology - illuminates, liberates, unites and at times frustrates’ was moderated by Dr. Poornima Dore, Head, Data Driven Governance, Tata Trusts.  The panelists included, Rakesh Ranjan, DDG (Evaluation) and Sr. Consultant, NITI Aayog, Government of India, Val Curtis, Professor, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, Viraj Tyagi, CEO, eGovernments Foundation and Govind Shivkumar, Principal-Digital Identity initiative, Omidyar Network. 

The second panel discussed the importance of understanding the consumer and building technology that serves their requirements. The panelists spoke about the involvement of civil society at the ground level for the effective implementation of technology in resolving bottlenecks in social programmes. Another important point highlighted by the speakers was the capacity constraint at the government level and how technology could be leveraged to enhance capacity. 

Highlighting the prerequisites of the government while considering new technology for public projects, Mr. Rakesh Ranjan said, “It is important that the purpose of the technology is demonstrated so that we can clearly understand how is it different from the current processes. The technology must be simple and user friendly and it should not duplicate existing processes.”

The concluding panel on ‘Can technology unleash the power to empower the rural consumer?’ was moderated by Mr. Ganesh Neelam, Zonal Head (Central and North), Tata Trusts; Executive Director, Collectives for Integrated Livelihood Initiatives (CInI); Director, Foundation for Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship (FISE). The panelists included Mr. Arun Nathan, Director, IDFC Foundation, Mr. Babu Ahmed, CEO, Real Time Governance,  Vice Chairman & Managing Director, Andhra Pradesh Industrial Infrastructure Corporation Ltd., Managing Director, Andhra Pradesh State FiberNet Ltd. and Managing Director, Andhra Pradesh Towers Ltd, Mr. Srinivasu Pappula, Global Head - Digital Farming Initiatives, Tata Consultancy Services and Mr. Bhushan Patil, Asst. Director, Marine Products Export Development Authority, Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Government of India.

The third panel brought forward the leveraging the five forces of technology; Social Network, Mobility, Analytics, Cloud Computing and Internet of Things (IoT) to address issues in agriculture. The panel noted, for technology-enabled projects to be successful, there needs to be greater customisation through AI and big data. Panelists also highlighted how technology has been leveraged in the fisheries industry such as enrolment of farmers, QR labelling of consignment for traceability and development of an App to help farmers, processors and end consumers interact with each other. 

The conclave also saw two technology entrepreneurs - Bharath M. Palavalli, Researcher and Developer, Fields of View and Saurabh Levin, Head, Operations and Product Design, Foundation for Environmental Monitoring - sharing the challenges and learnings they faced in their journey. 

The Tata Trusts focus on fostering innovation and employing technology to benefit communities through initiatives like the Nutrition Dashboard, DiNC and Internet Saathi. The Trusts believe digital technology has great potential to enable and accelerate healthcare, data management and rural economy to address many of India’s social problems. 

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