NASSCOM, the premier trade body and chamber of commerce of the technology industry in India that comprises over 3000-member companies, has written a letter to the Government of India requesting for certain actions that will enable the technology industry to do more to help the country navigate through the second wave. The highlight of the letter is that the trade body has requested for the Indian Government to provide emergency use authorization for all WHO-approved vaccines to ensure there is no vaccine divide in the country.
“The devastating impact of the second wave of COVID-19 is being felt across the country and its economic and social impact is unprecedented. The Indian technology industry is fully committed to supporting the nation to deal with the crisis. Times like this call for greater partnership and collaboration across industries and the government. NASSCOM in its letter to the Prime Minister has made three critical asks which will enable the industry to do more and act faster to help the country navigate the second wave and be better prepared to deal with future waves,” says NASSCOM while requesting for the following actions:
Temporary Relaxation in FCRA Conditions
Many countries and global companies are providing aid to India and are helping the healthcare infrastructure deal with the surge. However, the amended provisions of the FCRA Act 2020 are proving to be a deterrent. Given the humanitarian crisis, we would request the government to grant a temporary waiver to the FCRA Act and the 2020 amendments. This will enable NGOs to transfer funds between two FCRA approved NGOs and non-FCRA approved NGOs.
Liberalizing COVID-19 Vaccines Import
While the vaccination regime has been liberalized, the availability of vaccines particularly for the private sector continues to be very challenging. While we are attempting to source available vaccines in India, we request the government to provide emergency use authorization for all WHO-approved vaccines – Pfizer, Moderna, J & J, and others that have gone through stringent approval process globally, to ensure there is no vaccine divide in the country
Need for an effective data utilization strategy
Data and AI have a critical role to play for India to deal with the COVID crisis. NASSCOM in July last year had called for an urgent imperative for the country to build a data utilization strategy. COVID tracking and vaccination, insights, and analytics from data could play a key role in decision making and early warning signals. Data is one of the most strategic ammunition available to manage the pandemic and respond better. We must ensure effective access to data for insights and planning, across all states and key departments, on a priority.