Dr Harsh Vardhan launches ‘COVID India Seva’, an interactive platform for citizen engagement on COVID-19

New Delhi: Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare, Dr Harsh Vardhan today launched the COVID India Seva, which provided an interactive platform to establish a direct channel of communication with millions of Indians amid the pandemic. This initiative is aimed at enabling transparent e-governance delivery in real-time and answering citizen queries swiftly, at scale, especially in crisis situations like the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Through this, people can pose queries @CovidIndiaSeva and get them responded to in almost real time. @CovidIndiaSeva works off a dashboard at the backend that helps process large volumes of tweets, converts them into resolvable tickets, and assigns them to the relevant authority for real-time resolution.

The Union Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan announced the dedicated account @CovidIndiaSeva with a tweet.

Announcing the launch of @CovidIndiaSeva to respond to citizens’ queries, real-time!

Trained experts will share authoritative public health information swiftly at scale, helping to build a direct channel for communication with citizens.

@PMOIndia @TwitterIndia @PIB_India @MoHFW_India

Commenting on the announcement of the Seva, Dr. Harsh Vardhan said, “Over time, Twitter has proved to be an essential service for both the government and citizens to interact and exchange information, especially in times of need. As #IndiaFightsCorona with social distancing, we are happy to make a concerted online effort by adopting the Twitter Seva solution. It is powered by a team of experts at our end who are trained and equipped to treat and respond to each query uniquely, and at scale. This will enable us in establishing a direct channel with Indian citizens, connecting with them in real-time to provide authoritative health and public information.”

The dedicated account will be accessible to people be it local or national in their scope. Whether it is for latest updates on measures taken by the Government, learning about access to healthcare services or seeking guidance for someone who perhaps has symptoms but is unsure about where to turn to for help, @CovidIndiaSeva will empower public to reach out to the authorities. People can get their queries answered by tweeting to @CovidIndiaSeva.

As these responses are transparent and public, everyone can benefit from the responses received around common queries. It is important to note that the Ministry will respond to broader queries and public health information. This does not require the public to share personal contact details or health record details.

On the launch of the interactive platform, Ms. Mahima Kaul (@misskaul), Director, Public Policy, India and South Asia, Twitter said, “We understand our role as an essential service for both the government to communicate with citizens and for the public to stay connected with each other. As #IndiaFightsCorona with social distancing, we are committed to working with the Government of India as they use the influence of social media to connect with the public at large.”

Over the last three months, the Ministry has introduced several initiatives in the war against Corona- including as part of a strategic communication strategy. This includes focused travel and health advisories, various Guidelines/Standard Operating Procedures/Protocols for different stakeholders across the public and private sectors for the governments, hospitals, citizens, different healthcare workers, employees and various other knowledge resources. Different channels of communication spanning the print, electronic and social media have been deployed as part of a holistic awareness campaign. It is as a result of these collaborative efforts that today there is a widespread awareness regarding basic measures of social distancing, hand washing and respiratory etiquettes to be followed for avoiding the virus. This effort has also been successful in the participation of different sections of the community in the prevention and containment measures of the Government.