To bring the coronavirus pandemic under control, the Indian government has been looking for solutions, examples, and suggestions from the private sector and startups. Now, the human resources development (HRD) ministry has turned to the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) to look for tech-enabled solutions to help deal with the outbreak that has already crossed 1,200 cases in India.
Amit Khare, secretary of the HRD ministry, held a video conference with directors of IITs on March 30 to discuss the matter. Khare reportedly asked the IITs to come up with a clear short-term and medium-term tech-enabled comprehensive plans within two days to combat coronavirus and all such medical emergencies in the future.
Khare told ET that some of the IITs have already submitted the prototypes of masks and face shields that can be used for protection. “IIT Delhi and IIT Guwahati are working on better quality personal protective equipment for doctors and attendants dealing with Covid-19 patients. While prototypes are ready in several cases, scaling up requires industry collaborations and funding. Many have proposed research on Covid-19 virus but samples are not made available yet and we hope to facilitate that,” he added.
Besides this, IIT Kanpur has developed a prototype of a low-cost ventilator, priced at INR 70K. IIT Hyderabad has proposed an alternative ventilator, which can be used to resuscitate people. IIT Bombay has designed an app to track patients and positive cases. While IIT Delhi is looking to develop more protective apparel for medical personnel.
Covid-19 Solution Challenge For Tech Startups
Two weeks ago, the Indian government had announced the ‘Covid-19 Solution Challenge’ to seek solutions from the Indian startup ecosystem to ease the impact of coronavirus pandemic.
“Harnessing innovation for a healthier planet. A lot of people have been sharing technology-driven solutions for Covid-19. I would urge them to share them on the government-citizen engagement platform MyGov.in,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi, tweeted.
MyGov platform highlighted that both startups and individuals can send their pitches, which will be evaluated by the government. It also included that only those companies, which comply with the definition of a “startup” as notified by the department of promotion of industry and internal trade’s (DPIIT) order from February 19, 2019, can participate in the challenge. coincidently, the last date of submission of ideas is today, March 31.