BJP MP Tejasvi Surya, on March 13 launched a new version of the Covid Raksha helpline for residents of Bengaluru South.
Bengaluru's startup and technology community has stepped up to solve a critical problem that the city is grappling with - an efficient system of bed allocation as it continues to see a huge spike in the number of people testing positive for Coronavirus.
Bengaluru South MP Tejasvi Surya who alleged corruption in the way civic body BBMP was allocating beds for patients, said he has sought help from Infosys co-founder and Aadhaar architect Nandan Nilekani to revamp the bed allocation software. Nilekani has drafted tech architects from policy think tank iSpirt to make the bed booking software more transparent and efficient.
iSPIRT likely to focus on bridging the technical gap in the BBMP bed allocation software
Moneycontrol learns that iSPIRT is likely to help with bridging technical gaps in the BBMP’s bed allocation software as per its current assessment. People familiar with the development said the think tank is currently taking stock of the systems and has seen huge response from the startup and tech community in Bengaluru.BBMP Bed allocation and irregularities
Currently bed allocation system in centralised. Those who want to book beds call 1912, a BBMP helpline number. After the call is placed, a BBMP official will allocate the hospital bed for patients in government or private hospitals based on availability.
This system, according to Surya, is being misused by some officials for their own gain.
On May 4, Surya exposed the irregularities and anomalies in the BBMP bed allocation system for the COVID-19 positive patients. He alleged that the beds are allocated in the name of asymptomatic patients and the BBMP officials charge the people for booking beds through the helpline.
A day later, Surya said in a tweet that he reached out to the Nilekani to revamp the bed allocation software. He further added that “a team of tech architects, also assisted by iSPIRT will redesign the bed booking software to make it efficient, transparent and minimise manual intervention.”
This has created a lot of confusion. It is not clear yet how ISPIRT will work along with Surya and BBMP to take this forward.
Surya is not directly involved in the COVID-19 taskforce and neither is he a part of BBMP. Ministers R Ashoka and Basavaraj Bommai are in charge of overseeing the availability of hospital beds in the State, and Aravinda Limbavali has been put in charge of BBMP War Room.
What is iSPIRT doing?
Confusions aside, one of the key concerns raised was the technology gaps that had made the irregularities in the bed allocation possible. As per the current assessment, as sources shared, addressing these gaps are in the cards rather than building a new system.
There is also not enough clarity on how the think tank will work with other stake holders, including companies that is currently maintaining the current system.
In an interaction with The News Minute, BBMP Commissioner Gaurav Gupta, said that the system for bed allotment and indexing patients were built by the Bengaluru-based IT major Infosys. The system is currently maintained by another firm, he added. An email sent to Infosys and Nilekani on the BBMP software did not elicit any response.