Compared to many states surrounding it, the state of Karnataka has relatively handled the COVID-19 pandemic better. One of the factors that led to it is the state heavily depending on technology.
When a forest officer tested positive in Kolar district and informed the officials about the places he has visited, the details were entered into an application and traced all his contacts within a day. This is the reason behind the successful contact tracing of the Karnataka health department and thereby isolating them quicker to contain the spread of the virus.
Earlier in the outbreak, the state officials depended on the information provided by patients and manually trace the contact. Munish Moudgil, the secretary in the Department of Personnel and Administrative Reforms turned to technology to simplify the process. He said,
“As new problems arose at the start of the pandemic. I felt I did not need to hold too many deliberations. I needed solutions in place in a time-bound manner. If the number of patients shoots up to 200-300 per day, there is no choice but to use technology to trace contacts since it is not possible to manually keep track of contacts.”
Munish who is an IIT graduate already had a reputation of using technology to encourage transparency and efficiency in the government.
As soon as there were cases in the state, Karnataka rolled-out series of mobile applications developed by the team of in-house programmers headed by Munish Moudgil. The applications include contact tracing and quarantine watch. Munish designed the workflow charts and designed the digital systems and his programmers developed the applications to be used by citizens and the state. He said,
“You cannot always depend on outside agencies. Even if a private IT company is technologically sound, they have a learn levels of bureaucratic functioning to design an application and put it to public use during a crisis.”
The approach has so far worked for the state while Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra struggle to cope with thousands of cases every day. The state has managed to keep the case under 10,000. The city of Bengaluru with a population of over a crore has only recorded 1272 cases so far.
Source: The News Minute