Empowering rural India is of utmost importance and the government needs to do so by provisioning for broadband penetration and financial inclusion. Access to quality health care is another key to achieving rural empowerment. The budget for this segment was raised marginally last year and it would be good to have an allocation for rural health care programs with provisions for technology that would help modernize this sector to expand its reach through remote healthcare solutions and telemedicine.
Furthermore, the government announced a big budget campaign 'Swabhimaan' in the budget last year to promote banking and provide services to about 20,000 villages. In order to meet this goal, the budget this year too would need to make provisions accordingly. The steering committee on health said that in the 12th plan (2012-17), all district hospitals would be linked to leading tertiary care centres through telemedicine, Skype and similar audio visual media. M-health will be used to speed up transmission of data. Disease surveillance will be put on a GIS platform.
Disease surveillance based on reporting by providers and clinical laboratories (public and private) to detect and act on disease outbreaks and epidemics would be an integral component of the system.India will also put in place a Citizen Health Information System (CHIS) - a biometric based health information system which will constantly update health record of every citizen-family. The system will incorporate registration of births, deaths and cause of death. Maternal and infant death reviews, nutrition surveillance, particularly among under-six children andwomen, service delivery in the public health system, hospital information service besides improving access of public to their own health information and medical records would be the primary function of the CHIS.
Economies of Indian states can grow 1.08 per cent faster with every 10 per cent increase in Internet and broadband connections, says a study released by Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER). Consequently, for every 10 per cent increase in Internet and broadband penetration, India could potentially add USD 17 billion to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Also as per a report by HealthCursor, the tele-density in urban areas in India is almost 100 percent while in the rural areas, it is 37 percent. The pervasiveness of mhealth and ehealth (Commnity based broadband now available) platforms will be harnessed in the MDG and National Health plans in India.