In order to upscale the efforts to tackle the coronavirus outbreak, the Department of Science and Technology (DST) has set up a dedicated task force for COVID-19. The task force will look out for appropriate technologies and manufacturing available in India for addressing issues related to the viral widespread, as well as scout for new solutions to help prepare the country for emergencies arising out of COVID-19 pandemic.
The prime responsibility of the task force would be to map technologies from R&D labs, academic institutions, startups, and MSMEs to fund almost market-ready solutions in the area of diagnostics, testing, healthcare delivery solutions, equipment supplies, etc. A few of these solutions are masks and other protective gear, sanitizers, affordable kits for screening, ventilators and oxygenators, data analytics for tracking, monitoring, and controlling the spread of outbreak through artificial intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT) based solutions.
The newly constituted task force consists of representatives from DST, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR), Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Atal Innovation Mission (AIM), Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME), Startup India and All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE). The Task Force is to identify the most promising startups that are close to scale up, who may need financial or any other help.
Nodal officers of concerned Ministries and Departments involved in the task force have been requested to take it on war-footing and expedite the process of obtaining information on such startups and other entities supported by them for technological solutions for any important aspect of COVID-19.
In order to support scientific solutions and commercial manufacturing of both new and existing solutions, DST has already invited two separate sets of proposals, one each under Science & Engineering Research Board (SERB) and Technology Development Board (TDB).