Coronavirus in India: NITI Aayog CEO 
 Amitabh Kant writes to NGOs; seeks help in identifying COVID-19 hotspots, vulnerable groups
ANI

Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant has written to over 92,000 NGOs appealing them to assist the government in identifying Covid-19 hotspots and delivering services to vulnerable groups.

Kant, who is heading the Empowered Group (EG 6) on coordinating with private sector NGOs and international organisations, has also written to all chief secretaries urging them to instruct the local administration at the district level to utilise the physical and human resources made available by NGOs and civil society organisations (CSOs), an official statement said.

The government had on March 29 constituted 11 empowered groups to suggest measures to ramp up healthcare, put the economy back on track and reduce misery of people as quickly as possible post the 21-day lockdown imposed to contain the coronavirus pandemic.

"CEO Niti Aayog has written to over 92000 NGOs/ CSOs registered on the Darpan portal of Niti Aayog, appealing them to assist the government in identifying hotspots and deputing volunteers and care givers to deliver services to the elderly, persons with disabilities, children, transgender persons, and other vulnerable groups; to create awareness about prevention, social distancing, isolation, and combating stigma; to provide shelter to homeless, daily wage workers, and urban poor families; set up community kitchens for migrants," the statement said.

It further said that the empowered group (EG 6) conducted detailed deliberations with 40-plus prominent CSOs and NGOs working in different parts of the country and with different communities. "Several challenges and issues raised by these CSOs were addressed by the EG6 to facilitate their working in the field during this crisis," it added.

The statement said the EG6 has contacted start-ups, namely AgVa, Biodesign Innovation Lab, Kaeaenaat, Qure AIDrona Maps, mFine, MicroGo and Staqu, working on innovative ventilator designs, testing tools, and tracking solutions to understand their scale and possible contributions. Industry representatives and the EG 6 deliberated in detail on several challenges on critical issues of health-care intervention, pertaining to ramping up production and procurement of ventilators, personal protective equipment (PPE), testing kits, in collaboration with several other EGs; apart from ways to step up the relief and rehabilitation and information dissemination, it added.

Industry representatives have also shared in detail the activities undertaken in public advocacy, philanthropy and, CSR by way of running factory kitchens for preparing, distributing free food in coordination with local administration; and making available factory hospitals/ premises/ guest houses as quarantine and shelter facilities. The other members of the Empowered Group include Dr Vijayaraghavan, (Principal Scientific Adviser), Kamal Kishore (Member, NDMA); Sandeep Mohan Bhatnagar (Member, CBIC) and senior officials of various ministries.

Six meetings were conducted by EG6) between March 30 and April 3 with industry associations and CSOs about their contribution to the response, plans for the coming weeks, and the issues they are facing.

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