Govt, Tata, Mahindra To Create ‘Citizen App’ To Battle COVID-19
The committee comprises Anand Mahindra and Tata Sons chairman N Chandrasekaran.
The government has announced the constitution of a committee comprising top industry leaders like Anand Mahindra and N Chandrasekaran, that will “develop and implement a Citizen App technology platform for combating COVID-19”.
The notice, issued on 3 April by the Government of India, Cabinet Secretariat, and Rashtrapati Bhavan, has stated that this will be carried out through a public-private partnership (PPP) model. The committee has been tasked with creating “an enabling mechanism” for a “single nationwide technology platform”.
The seven-member committee, which includes Mahindra & Mahindra chairman Anand Mahindra, Tata Sons chairman N Chandrasekaran, will complete the work in three months time.
What Will It Do?
The app will be used for “on-boarding all citizens in combating COVID-19, evaluating and converging related technology solutions and suggestions.”
The committee also includes secretaries of Electronics & IT ministry, Chairman of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), an IIT professor and the principal scientific advisor to the government.
The decision to create the single nationwide platform for on-boarding of citizens comes at a time when multiple apps related to COVID-19 are already available. While contact-tracing apps developed by the government like Aarogya Setu and Corona Kavach are available for download, the Centre and state governments have also come up with chatbots in collaboration with WhatsApp.
The committee comprises the following members:
- RS Sharma: Chairman, TRAI
- Professor K Vijay Raghvan: Principal Scientific Advisor to Govt of India
- Ajay Prakash Sawhney: Secretary, Electronics & IT Ministry
- Anshu Prakash: Secretary, Dept of Telecommunications
- Anand Mahindra: Chairman, Mahindra & Mahindra
- N Chandrasekaran: Chairman, Tata Sons
- Prof V Kamakoti: Member, NSAB, lIT Chennai
The committee will be further supported by Manharsinh Yadav, Deputy Secretary, Prime Minister's Office.
It is, however, not clear what the specific scope of the application will be and whether it would entail mandatory on-boarding by citizens.
The development of the app by July indicates that the government anticipates the pandemic to be active in India for at least the next three months.
Moreover, days after the Karnataka government sought hourly selfies from those home-quarantined, in yet another move to keep a check on the quarantined, the Andhra Pradesh government has decided to track the mobile signals of those in home isolation.
This massive exercise will be coordinated by the State Disaster Management Authority and the government has already partnered with the service providers in the state to roll out the project.
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