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Must attract manufacturing of high value, tech products: Amitabh Kant

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NEW DELHI: India should attract manufacturing of high value as well as high technology products moving out of other countries, NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant said at a webinar organised by Bennett University on Thursday. This may be the decade when India starts expressing its technological might, he said.

“As and when investments move out of other countries we should be willing to attract,” Kant said, addressing the closing session of the webinar on the economy and Covid-19 entitled ‘Jaan Bhi, Jahan Bhi’. The webinar was organised by the management school of Bennett University, which is part of The Times of India Group that publishes ET.

Kant spoke on technology as a disruptor, fight against Covid-19 and post Covid-19 economy, citing the Aarogya Setu app as an example of how technology can help in combating the pandemic.

He said there will be disruption in electrical mobility, advanced chemical battery manufacturing, genomics, 5G and Industry 4.0. “All these will be the new areas of growth… We need to get into sunrise areas of industry because that is where the value is,” he said.

He said the government is looking at schemes for several sectors such as automobiles, auto components, network products, food processing, advanced chemical cell battery and solar PV manufacturing to attract investments.

Product-linked incentives have already been rolled out for mobile manufacturing, making active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) in India and domestic manufacturing of medical devices.

Kant said a crisis like Covid-19 needs to be tackled through three interconnected levers – frontline health workers, infrastructure, and medical facilities and technologies. India has taken early lead in use of technology to fight the pandemic, he said.

He said India will play a major role in the fight against Covid-19, mentioning rapid advances made in the past two months and the Aarogya Setu app that combined technology and data science to gain information edge against the pandemic. “Whole range of technological evolution from PPEs (personal protective equipment), masks, testing to vaccine development,” Kant said, mentioning about 30 attempts in India to develop a vaccine.

The NITI Aayog CEO said the Aarogya Setu team has accurately forecast more than 650 hotspots at sub post office level in addition to 300 emerging hotspots which could have been missed otherwise. “This impact at scale of identifying hotspots early and providing the symptomatic channel to reach the government instantly is the key to flattening the curve and breaking the chain of infection,” said Kant.

Aarogya Setu has a comprehensive Bluetooth approach to contact tracing by integrating with the Indian Council of Medical Research database to APIs. It gets real time testing alerts on Covid-19 positive cases from across India. Through the 13,000 Aarogya Setu users who have tested positive so far, the Bluetooth-based interaction data has led to more than 150,000 people being assessed and alerted, said Kant.

Kant said machine learning and internet of things allow India to rethink the future of its healthcare by making cloud hospitals a reality for remote consultations and diagnosis.


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