by Anantha Krishnan M

BANGALORE: A serving Wing Commander of the Indian Air Force (IAF) who has contributed immensely towards digital revolution over the years has impressed India’s top military brass and bureaucrats with an idea that has the potential to find permanent healthcare solution to the world, now choking under the firm grip of coronavirus.

It has also captured the imagination of experts in multiple domains across the globe, driving them to come under one umbrella to take this voluntary idea to the logical end.

And, if they manage to break through the labyrinthine corridors of bureaucracy, then experts who have assessed its immediate potential say that we might have a firm solution on hand to tackle COVID-19 shocks and aftershocks.

And, what makes this application special is, it is developed to serve the people of India, with zero commercial angles.

This air warrior with brains looped deep into artificial intelligence (AI) domain seems to have extensively networked within the framework of IAF rules, to connect with people who had similar sentiments towards finding a unified solution to address COVID-19 threat.

Convinced by his idea named PraanKavatch (the digital shield for life) following his passionate call for volunteering on a professional platform during the lockdown period, many qualified domain experts flocked behind the air warrior with priceless inputs.

Digital Shield

Drawing inspiration from Britain during World War-II, Wg Cdr Sudhakaran came up with the PraanKavatch project to solve three main problems to contain the effects of COVID-19 - to prevent the spread of the pandemic; to efficiently manage the complete lifecycle of those who are infected, and to ensure normalcy of life and economic activities as before.

PraanKavatch is a seamless one-button-click-solution which shall tell the user at every point of time what needs to be done, how, where and when.

It integrates not only technology solution modules but also aims to leverage the power of Aadhar and Ayushman Bharat Arogya Yojana along with the various existing healthcare policies. 

How It Works

The PraanKavatch solution comprises of more than 20 digital modules and frameworks integrated into a singular platform to deliver various services.
It gives an end-to-end healthcare solution to any individuals who are affected by coronavirus and other routine healthcare problems.

It attempts to segregate the coronavirus patients from the non-corona ones by directing them to the respective healthcare centres digitally.

PraanKavatch is an integrated, converged digital solution based on AI and the people will be able to download it in the form of a mobile App.

The App will have stakeholders in healthcare including pharma retailers, hospitals, laboratories, testing and scanning centres to name a few.

Instant solution is delivered to the patient in the form of directions, guidance, appointments including medicine delivery.

Experts Confident

Onmanorama interacted with several experts who are part of PraanKavatch from different parts of the world. 

According to Uma Sudhindra, an entrepreneur based out of Bengaluru and a member of PraanKavatch think tank, to deal with any crisis it is critical to take a long-drawn approach, rather than an immediate response.

“This is a war and a war-like strategy must be applied to any tactical solution we design and implement. That is where PraanKavatch scores as a solution. It is meant not just for COVID-19, but as a digital solution for the management of the national healthcare database system,” says Uma, who is also on the board of IIM Visakhapatnam.

Her sentiments were echoed by another team member, who is a consulting professional with 10 years of experience in IT, strategy and risk analytics.

“PraanKavatch brings together different components of healthcare cycle and help people without putting others at risk. Being able to access doctors and healthcare professionals without leaving the confines of our homes will be a big factor in the days to come. As the lockdown period continues, health issues will arise. The design of this application ensures it can cater to all age groups,” she says, requesting to be anonymous owing to the contractual obligations with her firm.

Responding to a set of queries from Onmanorama, Air Vice Marshal C S Prakash (Retd) says that for a service officer, planning, preparation and execution of the war plan is a way of life.

“COVID-19 poses the same challenge and I am naturally drawn towards it as India needs to win this war with a plan that can be provided by PraanKavatch.

When asked what inspired him to join the team, the senior air warrior who retired this January after serving the IAF for 35 years, said that the dedication of his teammates sans any commercial angle was infectious.

“What convinced me is the multi-faceted approach to the challenge with the utilisation of minimal, available resources with maximised output,” says AVM Prakash, who was the Judge Advocate General (Air) from 2016 till January 2020.

Vidya Sagar, a retired senior scientist with Indian Space Research Organisation, with over three decades of exposure in multiple complex satellite technologies, says that COVID-19 is a multi-edge sword on everyone’s heads.

“PraanKavatch is hence a one-stop-shop to fight this pandemic, help to stabilize the plunging economy and putting an organized healthcare system in place. It could be much needed complete solution today, in this hour of need, which is not in place with the existing Apps,” says Vidya, who has worked on the power electronics and programme management areas of around 20 remote sensing satellites.

Air Commodore R N Gaekwad (Retd), who was a Network Centric Warfare expert with IAF, says that PraanKavatch is different for a simple reason that it is conceptualized to do what other applications are not doing.

“It’s a global emergency the answer lies in finding a technology-based architecture which will synergise all the individual efforts and channelize them in one direction with a sole aim of finding an answer in quick time. PraanKavatch when combined with other applications, will help us fight the pandemic in a focused manner both in terms of providing effective medical services as well as start revival of the economy,” says Air Cmde Gaekwad (Retd), a fighter pilot who served the IAF for 34 years.

Anushree Bordia, a Senior Application Specialist working with Cedars Sinai in Los Angeles, in her communication to Onmanorama said that PraanKavatch can be a solution accessible to the masses.

When asked what prompted her to chip in with her expertise, she said: “Everyone is looking to come back to our old normal and in the current state this seems a distant dream. PraanKavatch has the technology and the idea of combating it efficiently without bringing much disturbance in everyone's life,” says Anushree, who has over a decade of experience as in IT and health care industry. 

Mukund Kulkarni, a Senior Software Developer working with one of the top Fortune 100 companies and currently based out of Dallas, says PraanKavatch offers a holistic approach for all the tools that ideally an organization or country would need it for its citizens to battle the pandemic.

“Since it is being developed keeping in mind India specific needs, it is effective, and its use could prove a lot of positive consequences for the people in the coming days. Praan Kavatch is not a competitor to any of the Apps or applications developed by state governments or Centre. It could very well play a role to complement or even work as a better alternative for features which are already working well for the population,” says Mukund, who like others joined the bandwagon seeing its purpose and non-commercial intentions. 

Where It Stands

This digital revolution for healthcare in India has already seen support from CDAC (Centre for Advanced Computing), CISCO while IIT-Guwahati has stamped its approval on the project design, which was ratified by senior scientists from Department of Science and Technology.
The Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat along with other senior officials are said to have been convinced with the idea of PraanKavatch to combat a pandemic like COVID-19.

As this piece is being published, the detailed project proposal has been sent to the office of Principal Scientific Advisor (PSA) to the Government of India for evaluation. The PraanKavatch team is hoping to meet PSA Prof K Vijay Raghavan with a formal presentation soon.

Road Ahead

With multiple digital applications promising solutions post the outbreak of this pandemic, PraanKavatch probably could be an aggregator with an ambitious design and embedded with military-grade security features, putting to rest privacy and surveillance related fears.

The Green move protocol of PraanKavatch is a unique solution developed by Indian software professionals which can continually update the health status of every moving individual in real-time. The solution aims to achieve lockdown-free economy in 28 days if the guidelines are followed in letter and spirit.

“PraanKavatch project is an attempt to turn this moment of crisis into an opportunity to transform India's healthcare. It’s a voluntary, crowd-sourced mission of compatible professionals with a vision for digitising India’s healthcare ecosystem,” says a team member.