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New Delhi : Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Dr  Harsh Vardhan addressed the 4th edition of the Future Investment Initiative Forum here on January 27, 2021, through Video Conference. The purpose of the forum being hosted at Riyadh was to find solutions on how business and government can expand access to healthcare, train healthcare workers, remove regulatory barriers, and encourage investment in advanced health technologies.

Lauding the forum for its positive contribution to the world’s welfare, Dr Vardhan underlined, “This dynamic platform has become an important part of the calendar of the business world.” He reminded the audience of India’s historical ties and contacts with Saudi Arabia He also appreciated Saudi Arabia’s contribution to the world economy and thanked the country for looking after the Indian minority during the Pandemic.

Dr Vardhan highlighted the five big trends which are emerging due to COVID-19 and influencing global business:

  • The impact of Technology and Innovation
  • Importance of Infrastructure for Global Growth
  • Changes coming in human resource and future of work
  • Compassion for environment
  • Business friendly governance with focus on whole of society and government approach

On India’s indigenous innovations and contributions in digital health tools to monitor COVID management, Dr Vardhan noted, “The ‘AarogyaSetu App’ is being used by over more than 160 million Indians through their smart phones. Bluetooth tracing technology is used to analyse and find COVID hotspots and alert the local administration in advance under the ITIHAS+AS patch of AarogyaSetu App.”

Explaining this achievement in terms of the broader vision of integrating innovation in healthcare, he continued, “We have also tried at many levels to strengthen this culture through start-up challenges or Hackathons for the youth, where they experience innovation themselves. Today, a comprehensive eco-system from research and development to tech-entrepreneurship is being prepared in India.”

Summing up India’s efforts in strengthening of infrastructure for global growth, the Union Health Minister stated, “India has rolled out a special economic and comprehensive package of Rs 2 million Crore, which is equivalent to 10% of India’s GDP, under Aatma-Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan and in the health sector, the fund is targeted towards increased investments in Public Health and health reforms to prepare India for future obstacles.”

Dr Vardhan also elaborated on how India has developed a comprehensive vision on developing skilled human resources and the steps taken by India to mitigate climate change and move towards clean fuel consumption.

The Health Minister emphasised on healthcare as an important responsibility of any government and showcased the world’s largest vaccination campaign launched by India recently with two indigenously developed COVID-19 vaccines. In this regard, he also informed everyone present that SII Pvt. Ltd. will supply Covishield to Saudi Arabia. He also mentioned about the development of the Co-WIN digital platform and Ayushman Bharat scheme, the world’s largest government healthcare programme which are shining examples of use of technology in integrating communities in the sphere of Public Health, according to a PIB release.

Dr Vardhan assured the forum of India’s faster progress in improving not only ease of doing business but also ease of living. He ended his address by inviting everyone to partner with India in this journey of world’s welfare.