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#StartupsVsCovid19: NITI Aayog Teams Up With Startups For Empowered Group

#StartupsVsCovid19: NITI Aayog Teams Up With Startups For Empowered Group

NITI Aayog’s committee wanted to emphasise on public-private partnerships

NITI Aayog had invited eight Indian startups to join the empowered group

The startups are working in areas such as medical devices, telemedicine, drone tech and more

NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant-led empowered group 6 (EG 6) has partnered with startups and entrepreneurs from across the world to leverage their innovations and low-cost technologies that may come handy to fight Covid-19. Besides this, NITI Aayog also elaborated on the initiative taken by the eight startups it has invited to be part of the empowered group 6.

  • Agva Healthcare: The company has designed a low-cost ventilator, which can be operationalised in ambulances and makeshift Covid wards like hotel rooms. Its key features include small form factor, low power consumption, and minimal training requirement for operators. The startup presently has the capacity to produce 20,000 units per month and is one of the key manufacturers of ventilators.
  • Biodesign Innovation Labs: The company has developed a robotic product called RespirAid, which enables mechanised use of manual ventilators. The product consists of two robotic arms along with tidal volume control. It can be used by any person who can sedate and intubate a patient. The present manufacturing capacity is 2,000 RespirAid units per month.
  • Kaaenaat: The startup is also developing low-cost ventilators that can be operationalised by people with minimal ventilator related training, like Asha workers, and is portable. The ventilator can be used for serving two patients simultaneously and has an in-built battery, oxygen concentrator and a steriliser cabinet. It has already developed a prototype and is looking at a capacity of 5,000 units per month only at the end of June, this year.
  • Qure.ai: The startup has developed artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled analysis of chest X-Rays (CXRs), which can detect Covid-19 lung infections in less than a minute. It has a capacity of processing 10,000 CXR images per day.
  • DronaMaps: The startup is utilising its advanced geographic information systems (GIS) and geofencing enabled maps to track Covid-19 hotspots.
  • Mfine: It is an AI-powered online doctor consultation and telemedicine platform that connects diagnostics labs, pharmacies, etc. The platform also supports a video tool for doctor consultation.
  • MicroGO: The startup has developed a hand wash system for front line medical professionals. It uses minimal resources and captures usage data. The startup has the capacity of producing 100 units a day.
  • Staqu: The company has developed an AI-enabled thermal imaging camera for screening body temperature. It presently works with the authorities in Punjab and Uttar Pradesh to generate e-pass for essential services and citizens in need.

In a press statement, the NITI Aayog highlighted that a host of new innovations have come up in recent weeks, of which some have been developed by startups incubated by Indian universities. It also notes that startups incubated in IIT Kanpur and IIT Hyderabad are developing low-cost, easy-to-use, and portable ventilators that can be deployed even in rural areas of India.

Big Push For Technology 

The press release also elaborates that several startups have developed robots deployed at the entrance of office buildings and public places to dispense hand sanitiser, deliver public health messages about the coronavirus, to carry food and medicines in isolation wards of hospitals. It notes that several apps have also been launched to promote telemedicine and teleconsultation by offering online consultation with doctors and tests at home. Besides this, there has also been the adoption of drones to monitor social distancing.

The empowered group 6 includes Vijayaraghavan (Principal Scientific Officer), Kamal Kishore (member, NDMA), Sandeep Mohan Bhatnagar (member, CBIC), Anil Malik (AS, MHA), VikramDoraiswami (AS, MEA), P Harish (AS, MEA), Gopal Baglay (JS, PMO), Aishvarya Singh (DS, PMO), Tina Soni (DS, Cabinet Secretariat). The group has extensively engaged with CSOs, NGOs, development partners, UN agencies, industry associations in over 15 meetings since it was set up.

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