The government has reached out to leading IT companies like Microsoft, WIPRO and SAP and NASSCOM on strategising ways to combat the spread of COVID-19.

To this end, the government has asked the IT majors to come up with technologies that help in rolling out training modules for health workers and ventilator operators for containing the COVID-19 pandemic.

NITI Aayog CEO, Amitabh Kant, who is chairing the empowered committee for combatting the COVID-19 pandemic, also reached out to non-governmental organisations (NGO) for management assistance for the pandemic. The committee is coordinating with private sector NGOs and international organisations for the COVID-19 pandemic.

The virtual meeting was held with representatives of the industry, which included NASSCOM president Debjani Ghosh, Wipro chairman Rishad Premji, Microsoft India president Anant Maheshwari, Sindhu Gangadharan, managing director of SAP Labs India and Rahul Sharma, president, Amazon Internet Services.

Principal scientific advisor to government of India K VijayRaghavan said there is an increasing need to not only leverage smartphones but also feature phones in accelerating the process of contact tracing and identification of coronavirus infection hotspots in the country.

To this end, NASSCOM said that it has created a special task force focused on utilising data and technology for COVID-19 management and has launched an online directory of all its actions. Further, Amazon Internet Services offered the utilisation of their decision-making platform which leverages the usage of machine learning on open data.   As per SAP Labs India, it has been involved in augmenting healthcare systems, working with NGOs and UN agencies, launching a platform to connect suppliers, along with assisting the government in building predictive models.

Further, also present in the meeting, Kailash Satyarthi pressed upon the importance of the civil society and called on leaders of civil society organisations (CSOs) and NGOs to come together and complement the government-led COVID- mitigation efforts at the centre, state and local level.

The group headed by Kant is one of the 11 empowered groups of officers constituted by home secretary to plan and ensure the implementation of COVID-19 response activities.