The Department of Science and Technology (DST), has set up a COVID-19 task force to fund market-ready solutions including, among other things, data analytics for tracking, monitoring, and controlling the spread of coronavirus through AI and IoT based solutions. It will also fund solutions around masks and other protective gear, sanitisers, affordable kits for screening, ventilators, and oxygenators. India has 724 cases* of COVID-19 so far, with the death toll increasing to 17 lives*, according to data maintained by the Health Ministry.

The task force will map technologies from research and development labs, academic institutions, start-ups, and micro, small and medium enterprises. The capacity mapping group consists of representatives from DST, Department of Biotechnology, Indian Council for Medical Research, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, Atal Innovation Mission, Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, Startup India and All India Council for Technical Education.

The task will “identify the most promising startups that are close to scale up, who may need financial or other help or connects or projected demand to rapidly scale up,” DST said in a statement. It has asked the nodal officers of respective ministries and departments to “personally expedite the process of obtaining information on startups and other entities supported by them that have technology solutions for any important aspect of COVID-19”.

DST had invited proposals to build surveillance tools to combat COVID-19: DST also invited proposals to develop surveillance tools and AI & IoT tools to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, and as various state governments in the country have turned towards surveillance tools for tracking quarantined people.

  • The Karnataka government, which said that it would track phones of people placed under quarantine due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), which asked the Mumbai Police to track movements of international travellers through their GPS location.
  • The Tamil Nadu government using geofencing to ensure that people suspected of infection remain in quarantine.

Read: Keeping track of surveillance in the time of coronavirus

* as of March 27 11:15 AM IST