An empowered group under the chairmanship of NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant is coordinating with international organisations incuding UN agencies and World Bank along with the private sector for the fight against the coronavirus crisis, an official statement said.
The group was set up to address the issues pertaining to identification of problems, effective solutions and formulation of plans with three set of stakeholders – 1) the UN agencies, World Bank, Asian Development Bank, 2) Civil Society Organisations and development partners and 3) Industry associations — CII, FICCI, ASSOCHAM, NASSCOM.
An official statement said that six meetings were conducted between March 30 and April 3 with industry associations, international organisations, and civil society organisations about their contribution to the response, their plans for the coming weeks, and the issues they are facing, and their expectations from the government.
“All three groups have proactively pointed out the areas where they need support which the government is following up. They have also been put in touch with other EGs (empowered group) for faster and more effective response and coordination,” it said.
The empowered group had detailed meetings with UN Resident Coordinator for India, and country heads of WHO, UNICEF, UNFPA, UNDP, ILO, UN Women, UN-Habitat, FAO, World Bank, and Asian Development Bank, it said.
The statement said that following the discussions, the UN in India has built a Joint Programme Response Plan and submitted to NITI Aayog, defining their clear activities and deliverables in different sectors and states, where they are partnering with Union Ministries and state governments.
The committee has also conducted detailed deliberations with over 40 prominent civil society organisations and NGOs working in different parts of the country and with different communities.
Several challenges and issues raised by these CSOs were addressed by the empowered group to facilitate their working in the field during this crisis.
NITI Aayog CEO has written to over 92,000 NGOs and CSOs registered on the Darpan portal of NITI Aayog, appealing them to assist the government in identifying hotspots and deputing volunteers and care givers to deliver services to the elderly, persons with disabilities, children, transgender persons, and other vulnerable groups.
Further, the CEO has written to all chief secretaries urging them to instruct the local administration at the district level to utilise the physical and human resources made available by NGOs and CSOs.
“The committee has opened up cross-sectoral dialogue within the private sector and start ups to engender collaboration among them to produce health equipment and PPEs,” it said.
Around eight start-ups working in innovative healthcare solutions, 12 top industry leaders from CII, six CEOs from FICCI industry partners, 14 CEOs of tech-based companies from NASSCOM, discussed on issues ranging of estimation needs for PPE, ventilators and medical equipment, supply chain management issues among others.
Industry representatives and the group deliberated in detail and resolved several challenges on critical issues of healthcare intervention, pertaining to ramping up production and procurement of ventilators, PPEs, testing kits, in collaboration with several other empowered groups.