Policy

Sehat Empowering Rural Citizens Digitally

Apollo Hospitals partners with the Government in this path-breaking endeavour to link SEHAT to 60 000 CSCs across rural India
Sehat Empowering Rural Citizens Digitally

The digitalization initiative of the Government is to build a truly inclusive and enlightened India. The newly launched unique initiative for health care in India-‘SEHAT’ (Social Endeavour for Health And Telemedicine) is an attempt to empower rural citizens in having access to information, knowledge, skills and other services in various sectors through the intervention of digital technologies and fulfilling the vision of a “Digital India”.

Launching the new initiative Union Minister for Information Technology and Telecom Ravi Shankar Prasad said the Government was working to mainstream the underprivileged classes to come at par and to develop the rural community both socially and economically so as to build an inclusive and enlightened India. He said “Digital India” program is to transform India into a digitally empowered society so as to share the fruits of development with every section of the society especially those living in rural India. He said digitally empowered rural women can truly address the issues of structural imbalances and poverty.

Under the Digital India Mission, at least one Common Service Centre (CSC) in every Panchayat is being set up. There will be around 2,50,000 access points for delivery of various Government to citizen ( G2C ) services. The citizen can avail all the facilities near to the place of residence and need not frequent the Government offices. He said the CSC will also become a “change agent” for enabling the family member to learn computer skills and undergo vocational training resulting in digital empowerment and enhancement of family income. CSCs’ are well placed to play a significant role in the emerging field of e-commerce and enable people especially the rural artisan and farmers to sell their goods and services across the country and the world.

The Post offices including the EDPOs are being made multi service delivery points and all the CSCs services can be delivered to citizen through the post offices. Postal department has also got a payment bank license and with collaboration between CSC SPV and postal department all the CSC across the country shall be able to provide the banking services to the citizen. With this banking services can be made available to each individual in less than two years time.

One of the focus areas of digital India program is to promote digital literacy. The Government envisage to make at least one person e-literate in every household. CSCs across the county can play a critical role in taking Digital literacy to the remotest corners of the country. Already more than two lakh persons have been trained and certified as digitally literate across the country . The youth trained under this scheme will further develop their digital skills to become successful change agents and effectively participate in Nation Building.

Quality and affordable health care is one of the emerging needs for citizen in Rural Areas. CSC SPV and Apollo has come together to address this issue and design a workable solution. CSC has been delivering tele-consultation services with support from Apollo and Medanta in some areas and now with this initiative the tele consultation services are being extended to 60,000 CSCs across the country.

CSCs will also provide diagnostic services and promote sale of generic drugs through collaboration with Ministry of Health – by setting up of the Jan Aasudhi Stores. “With the availability of tele consultation, diagnostic facilities and generic drugs stores – we can redefine the extension of affordable and quality health care to the citizen especially in rural India .and hope that this will become a game changer not only for India but also exemplary for other countries across the globe,” the Minister said.

“Through our Prime Minister’s ‘Digital India’ initiative more Indians shall get access to e-services and we are delighted to be a partner with the Government in this path-breaking endeavour to link SEHAT to 60,000 CSCs,” Prathap C Reddy, Chairman, Apollo Hospitals, said.

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BK Jha is the Special Correspondent of Rural & Marketing. Prior to this he has been associated with The Hindustan Times, Political and Business Daily along with many other media organisations.
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