The Modi government is planning to share CoWin — the tech backbone of India’s vaccination drive — as a product “licensed by the central government”, which will be available to all “interested countries for free, until perpetuity”.
In an interview to ThePrint, Dr R.S. Sharma, chairperson of the Empowered Committee for the administration of the Covid-19 vaccine, said the only condition would be that the software should not be allowed to be used as a platform for commercial use or repackaged to be sold.
The Centre has received interest from 76 countries thus far,” he said.
He added that to demonstrate the capabilities of the software, the government is set to hold a virtual global conclave for health and technology experts from across the globe, on 5 July.
“196 officials from foreign countries and 116 private individuals from 41 countries have registered for participation in the Global Conclave on CoWin,” Sharma said. “In due course of time, we will also have information on the countries that formally showcase their interest in adopting the platform for vaccination in their respective countries.”
He added that the government of India is planning to share the platform as a product licensed by it but will be made available free for interested governments.
“The important aspect to note here is that CoWin is a public digital good in India, and it will be shared with other countries with the same expectation,” Sharma said. “It will not be allowed to be used as a platform for commercial use or for repackaging to only be sold to someone else.”
Sharma also told ThePrint that CoWin is the fastest growing tech platform in the world.
According to him, CoWin had achieved 20 crore registrations in the first four months of its launch on 16 January. As of 1 July, he added, 35.4 crore people have registered on the platform.
CoWin reboot — link passport with vaccine certificates
Sharma said the government is now planning to refresh the CoWin application by introducing certain changes including the linking of passport numbers with the vaccination certificates.
This, he added, was being done for international travel.
The other changes will include the introduction of a tab allowing editing in personal details enabling corrections in the vaccination certificates.
“The government has observed that in many cases, people submit incorrect personal details while registering, such as their name, date of birth or gender while registering themselves,” Sharma said. “We will now allow people to correct these details to enable corrections in their vaccination certificates.”
The refreshed application would allow for collating two first doses certificates for the same individual.
“We have created a mechanism to allow citizens to combine their certificates when they have, by mistake, used two different user accounts for the two different doses of vaccination,” Sharma said. “We are constantly taking feedback from all the stakeholders, learning from our own experiences, and evolving the platform to make it as accessible and inclusive for all”.
Sharma, who is also CEO of National Health Authority, said the software is creating new benchmarks and records every day.
He said that for wider outreach, consumer-facing apps such as PayTM, Reliance Group, Jubilant Foodworks, Ibibo, 1MG, Max hospitals, EkaCare, Apollo Hospitals have come onboard.
“It is intended to facilitate a wider outreach for India’s vaccination campaign as a whole,” he said.
“We have received over 204 applications from private and public entities to integrate with CoWIN, of which 148 have been accepted and are in the process of completing integrations,” he said.
These companies will be able to allow the users to “look for available slots for vaccination or vaccines”, he added.
According to Sharma, the move will allow users to “access vaccination certificates of the users from CoWIN, against a beneficiary reference ID or registered mobile number”.
This will enable these apps to provide options to the users to download their vaccination certificates. “In this case CoWIN will respond with the requested certificate only after OTP validation by CoWIN using the registered mobile number,” Sharma said.