Wednesday, August 17, 2022
Brave New India : An overview of Digital Health Policies and Initiatives during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Apar Gupta (Internet Freedom Foundation), Brave New India : An overview of Digital Health Policies and Initiatives during the COVID-19 Pandemic, SSRN (2022):
This paper is an adaptation of the 11th K.R. Memorial Lecture delivered on April 23, 2022 at ILS Law College, Pune which focussed on the digitisation of public health during the COVID-19 pandemic in India. Charted sequentially, it applies a constitutional lens of individual rights to various efforts, policies and programmes principally by the Union Government. Here, the analysis rests upon a human rights framework with an emphasis on privacy, data protection and inclusion.
The specific sections in this paper first capture the immediate breaches of privacy during the early days of the pandemic through the digital circulation of a patient's COVID-19 positivity and unlawful surveillance of members of the Tablighi Jamaat. Thereafter it focuses on the use of the digital contact tracing application, "Aarogya Setu" and the online vaccination platform, "Co-Win". The last part explains the digital health policies that focus on platformization and use of digital methods in public health under the umbrella of the Ayushmann Bharat Digital Mission and the National Health Authority.