Tribune News Service
New Delhi, February 2
India has taken the first steps towards digitisation of citizens’ health records with 6.30 lakh digital health IDs generated so far.
Centre allays privacy concerns
- The Supreme Court in August 2017 held that privacy was a fundamental right
- The apex court also said privacy of personal data was part of right to privacy
- In July 2017, govt formed a panel of experts to examine data protection issues
- The committee submitted a report on the basis of which Personal Data Protection Bill was tabled in Parliament
- The Bill is with a joint committee now
Six union territories covered
Health IDs have been generated in six UTs, including Chandigarh and Ladakh, where the Centre is running a pilot project before pan-India rollout of the National Digital Health Mission, which the PM announced on August 15 last. — Harsh Vardhan, Health Minister
Health Minister Harsh Vardhan told Parliament on Tuesday that 6,30,478 health IDs had been generated in six UTs, including Chandigarh and Ladakh, where the Centre was running a pilot project before pan-India rollout of the National Digital Health Mission, which Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced on August 15 last. The other UTs are Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Dadra Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu, Lakshadweep and Puducherry.
Vardhan allayed privacy concerns when asked if the government planned to store personal data of citizens with the help of an Indian company or some external company and if it would mean a violation of the privacy of Indian citizens if the data was stored with an external company.
“The selection of vendors for the National Digital Health Mission is compliant with rules and policies of the government. The data is stored in a federated architecture as described in the Mission Blueprint released in 2019,” the government said. There was no centralised database of medical records and NDHM enabled appropriate use of health data of individuals with their “consent only”, it said.
There is no violation of privacy of Indian citizens, the minister said amid concerns since India did not have a law on privacy. The Personal Data Protection Bill 2019 is currently with a joint committee of Parliament for review.
On data storage, the government said privacy was inbuilt in the design of the NDHM and all applicable laws and Supreme Court judgments were being followed.
“All the building blocks that require handling personal health records are being designed to comply with such policy ab-initio. Further, medical records are made available to anyone only with the consent of the individual or his or her nominee,” the government said.