At a time when India continues to witness an increasing number of COVID-19 cases, the government is attempting to take needed measures to control the pandemic situation. To that effect, the Department of Science and Technology (DST) revealed that more than Rs 200 crore has been allocated to several scientific institutions, industries, and startups to help build innovative solutions to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
Citing DST Secretary Ashutosh Sharma, a report by ThePrint said that more funds will be allocated eventually when new proposals begin to get approval.
The investment comes in response to the Technology Development Board’s (TDB) official invitation to the Indian companies and enterprises to come up with technological solutions to fight the health crisis. The TBD is a statutory body under the Department of Science and Technology.
According to the report, TDB has received around 500 project proposals and thus, the department has already allocated Rs 200 crore to financially support some of the COVID-19 projects, and more funds will be released upon approval of new projects, it said.
Government’s call for help
DST has been issuing official notifications for some time, inviting technological innovations to curb the COVID-19 crisis. According to the official statement, the department has been seeking companies to come up with solutions such as:
- Low-cost masks which can capture virus from the air and absorb respiratory droplets
- Cost-effective Thermal Scanning Machines
- Large area sanitisation and sterilisation, including electrostatic spray and Ultra Violet treatment for various available surfaces like glass, ceramic, wood, textile, etc.
- Bioinformatics and Surveillance
- Rapid and Accurate Diagnosis kit (paper-based and other point-of-care devices)
- AI and IoT-based solution for contact-less entry
- Oxygenators and ventilators (Low-cost and portable)
- Or any other related technology
With the COVID-19 situation demanding a rapid response, the department reportedly fast-tracked the approval of these projects to curb the coronavirus spread, and the first five projects were already funded last week.
Each project will reportedly receive Rs 25 lakh for up to a year for developing medical solutions to fight COVID-19. In normal times, the DST may take up to six months for approving projects for funding.
As the country is doing its best to fight the pandemic, both the public and private sectors are joining forces to comes up with more solutions to win the fight against the novel coronavirus.
(Edited by Suman Singh)
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