About the News World Bank Report
- The World Bank Report praised India’s efforts in tackling Covid-19 pandemic in the report documenting the challenges, innovations, and lessons in the procurement of essential medical items.
- The World Bank Report emphasized that the Indian government’s decision to have centralised procurement, support to long-term market development and production of Emergency Medical Equipment (EME) and Early export restrictions worked in its favour during the public health emergency in the country.
Major Highlights of the World Bank Report
- Prompt Decision Making: As per the report, the creation of empowered inter-ministerial groups helped the government to make prompt decisions for a centralised procurement to support the states.
- Flexible conditions were permitted under the existing legal frameworks and budgets to undertake fast-track procurement. Empowered groups helped to accelerate decision making.
- Initially, this enabled accelerated imports, and over time, the development of local markets, based on a whole-of-government approach.
- Quality Assurance: The report praised India for not compromising the quality of essential commodities during the large-scale procurement project.
- The quality assessment was then independently conducted by competent laboratories such as DRDO, Defense Research Development Establishment (DRDE), Aerial Delivery Research and Development Establishment (ADRDE), Labs of Ordinance Factory Board, South India Textile Research Association (SITRA).
- Growth of indigenous medical devices industry: The World Bank expressed that the Indian government provided a conducive environment for the growth of the indigenous medical devices industry.
- From Import Dependency to Export Surplus: At the beginning of the pandemic, India was mostly importing ventilators. But 25 manufacturers including several newcomers came forward to produce ventilators with limited financial and infrastructure capacity.
- The government made use of several automobile and electrical manufacturing companies to handhold these new entrepreneurs to produce ventilators.
- External Funding: The World Bank and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) jointly funded India’s Covid-19 Emergency Response and Health Systems Strengthening Project worth $ 1.5 Billion (‘11,983.5 cr).
Four Key Innovations listed in World Bank Report
- In World Bank Report listed four key innovations by India that helped in successful handling of the pandemic situation in the country:
- Whole-of-government approach: The adoption of a whole-of-government approach to stimulate local production that helped to steeply reduce unit prices and dependency on global supplies.
- Quick, but Good: Introduction of accelerated tendering process and quality assurance protocols.
- Supply chain management: Efficient supply chain management informed by computerized modeling to project cases and admissions for oxygen, intensive care unit requirements based on epidemiological trends.
- E-Procurement: Quick quality-assured Covid commodities to the government’s e-procurement site for prompt access to these products at competitive prices without going through a tendering process.