Union Health Ministry on Tuesday made it categorical that a digital health identity under the National Digital Health Mission (NDHM) will not be mandatory to get vaccinated when immunization against COVID-19 is available. Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan added that in cases where beneficiaries do not have health IDs, other IDs can be utilised.

The ambitious NDHM programme was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his Independence Day speech. As per the programme, everyone enrolled for the mission will get a Health ID that will ease access to medical services.

"The NDHM, as it exists today, does not make a digital ID or health ID mandatory to receive service under the digital ecosystem that NDHM is creating. To say it would become mandatory for vaccination and those who do not have health ID's would be deprived is probably not the right interpretation," Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said at a press conference.  

"It would be almost like an electoral scenario where multiple IDs are prescribed beforehand so that no one is deprived of benefits of either voting on the day of election or vaccination on the designated day," Bhushan said.

The Health Secretary's comments came a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi said India is taking a shot at setting up a powerful immunization conveyance framework and its digitized network, alongside the new computerized wellbeing ID, will be utilized to guarantee its prosperity. The PM was talking at the Grand Challenges Annual Meeting on Monday. 

Bhushan, about concerns with respect to information protection and information security under NDHM, said there is a bill forthcoming in Parliament which tends to this issue. 

"Till the bill gets passed, NDHM has an information the executives strategy which has been in the public space for more than the most recent one month. We have gotten in excess of 7,000 remarks on the information the board strategy of NDHM which guarantees both individual information protection just as information security. In light of the remarks that we have gotten, we would be appropriately refining our approaches," he said.

The National Health Authority (NHA), the apex agency responsible for the implementation of Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY), has been given the mandate by the government to design, build, roll-out and implement the NDHM in the country.   

The health ID will contain information about medical data, prescriptions and diagnostic reports and summaries of previous discharge from hospitals for ailments. The mission is expected to bring efficiency and transparency in healthcare services in the country.

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