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NHA asked for Rs 30 crore for National Digital Health Mission rollout in union territories

The National Health Authority has requested a budget of Rs 30 crore from the central government to implement the National Digital Health Mission in six union territories. The Health Ministry disclosed this in response to a Parliament question on Friday. As of September 9, 100,000 Health IDs have already been created in the six union territories apart from Jammu & Kashmir, NHA said.

As is evident by now, the Ministry said it would not delay implementation of the Digital Health Mission or the Health Data Management Policy until a personal data protection law is implemented. Privacy and security measures proposed in the Personal Data Protection Bill have been adopted in the ecosystem already, the ministry said. The Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019, is being deliberated upon by a Joint Parliamentary Committee, the proceedings of which have already been delayed due to the pandemic. This was revealed in a separate question to the Health Ministry by a group of BJP MPs including Tejaswi Surya. Curiously, Surya is a member of the joint committee examining the bill.

The Health Ministry said that the NDHM’s phase 1 is currently being rolled out on a pilot basis. It will be followed by the second phase with rollout in additional states; a nationwide rollout will follow in the third phase. Different health schemes across India will be integrated, operationalised and integrated into NDHM in the third phase.

The ministry said that the draft Health Data Management Policy was uploaded on August 20 seeking public comments. However, the policy was uploaded on the website on August 26. The policy will be finalised after comments are received. The last date for submitting comments is September 21. The ministry had initially given just a week for public consultation, and then deferred it twice. The final deadline of September 21 was granted after a digital rights group approached the Delhi High Court against the policy.

  • Will the government create a centralised health record? Detailed patient data will “primarily” be kept at the point of creation, the Ministry said. There will be no centralised repository of health records, but “minimum data set” will be indexed at the central level “for effective management of health service”.
  • Will there be a UPI-like interface for national Health ID? The mission will adopt MEITY’s Open Standards and Open Source Software in procurement and designing all the building blocks, per the Health Ministry.

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