ISRO has taken key initiatives for telemedicine : Dr Krishnaswamy Kasturirangan, Planning Commission, India

Dr Krishnaswamy Kasturirangan
Member, Planning Commission

Dr Krishnaswamy Kasturirangan, Member, Planning Commission, has steered the Indian Space programme for over nine years as Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), Space Commission and as Secretary to the Government of India.

In an exclusive interview with Dr Rajeshree Dutta Kumar, Sheena Joseph and Pratap Vikram Singh, Dr Kasturirangan provides insights into the various applications of satellites and information and communication technologies in healthcare

What are the specific initiatives that have been taken under your leadership in the Planning Commission? How are you guiding and driving these programmes?

In the Planning Commission, I am involved in the areas of science and technology, environment and forest, climate change and agriculture research. Space is one of the key areas within the science and technology segment that I am looking after.

We have recently tried to complete the mid-plan review of various projects and programmes under the 11th Plan to look at how we have fared in these areas and also to identify the things we are supposed to do in the remaining two years left of the 11th Plan.

By and large the programmes under various scientific departments like Department of Science & Technology (DST), Council for Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR), Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Department of Space, Department of Atomic Energy and Ministry of Earth Sciences have been progressing to different levels based on certain targets that have been set for them. There have been significant developments in terms of our publications, as well. India has now gone to the 9th place in terms of overall publications.

DBT is a very unique institution in terms of promoting innovations in biotechnology and recently it has organised Stanford India Biodesign to promote tech fellows or graduates from IITs or other areas of engineering, science and medicine. These fellows identify good and innovative ideas in the area of medical instrumentation. This is crucial as India imports medical instruments worth ` 15 crore and hardly 5% of the overall requirement today is indigenously manufactured. These youngsters are given a holistic view of the entire issue or dimension involved in creating medical instrumentation. This also involves opportunity and idea identification, converting that idea into prototype product, testing, evaluation, questions of business practices, financial management, ethical issues and intellectual properties.

Is DBT, through its initiatives, being able to bridge the gap between indigenous and imported medical instruments?

Yes. However, what is more important is the fact that it is trying to create cadres in the country, which can be the foundation for developing India as a biomedical instrumentation hub of the future.

Can you elaborate on how science and technology and Indian remote sensing satellites contribute towards health? How specifically will these initiatives affect the social development sector?
In health, specifically the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has taken some key initiatives for telemedicine. In India, there is a dearth of doctors and specialists in rural areas, whereas the density of doctors in urban areas, which have super specialty hospitals is much higher. Of the total number of doctors in India, hardly 2% practice in rural areas. So at doorstep of rural population, India does not have that kind of specialty support for treatments and diagnostics. Further, to transport every patient of rural area to the city to get specialist medical attention will be a huge task and probably impossible. Many of the patients who come to cities should be guided as to how to treat a disease and have right diagnosis by a specialist. These are the considerations that prompted us to see whether we can install equipments in rural/district hospitals like electrocardiogram or chest x-rays to monitor everything electronically and send it via satellite to some urban hospitals, which has a telemedicine centre, so that the reports can be analysed by specialist doctors stationed thousands of kilometers away.

“Today more than 300-320 hospitals in  rural I­ndia have been connected to some 30-40 specialty or super specialty hospitals in urban centres and nearly 300,000 patients have been treated in through telemedicine. “

So there is enormous potential of ICT in the context of healthcare system in the country. Nearly 300,000 patients in the recent past have been treated in through telemedicine. Today more than 300-320 rural hospitals have been connected to some 30-40 specialty or super specialty hospitals in urban centres like Apollo Hospitals, Ramachandra Hospital, Mata Anandmayi Hospital, AIIMS and Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate Institute. All these hospitals are connected to the rural areas and doctors in urban centres provide services to the rural folds by providing timely medical advice which is of specialist nature. They have also built mobile vans, which can not only penetrate at the levels of district hospitals but can go to other places and screen patients/population for their health problems and so on. These mobile vans can again transmit these reports using ICT for monitoring to specialty hospitals.

Many of these scientific departments, particularly atomic energy, as a byproduct of their nuclear research programme have developed number of isotopes such as Cobalt 60 and CCM-137, which are available today for cancer treatment for radiation therapy. This is one class of development that scientific department has contributed to. But there are potentials for cancer detection and treatment where ICT can be brought in.

Various types of processing which has gone into and newer softwares that have been brought into can reduce the complexities of hardware systems by judiciously complementing the hardware-software interfaces.  For example, ECG developed in CSIR laboratory costs only around `10,000. It is quite affordable and being installed at many locations in the country. ICT can further be used to send these ECG reports to various parts of the country. ICT can also be used for information processing and information improvements for image processing. The space department has developed as part of remote sensing system, a number of image processing algorithms. These image processing algorithms if suitably adopted could be used for looking at the images that are normally for the nuclear magnetic MMR, CT scan, gamma ray cameras, etc. All of them need variety of image processing techniques which is found in the realm of information technologies because these are all signal processing and signal analysis.

The National Innovation Council promotes innovations which could actually cater to the need of grassroot people. What is the broader objective of this and what is the roadmap for addressing the needs of common people?

National Innovation Council has now formed three scientific departments or consortiums. We will bring them together and they will exchange their experience. Many of them have built their equipments for nuclear applications, medical applications and educational programmes. But then they will exchange their experiences, look at all technologies and analyse the potential for mapping these technologies for rural development or social applications. However, this has not been organised in a manner which is both sustainable and which can make an impact so far. This is where National Innovation Council’s relationship with other scientific departments is going to make a difference.

Three departments—Atomic energy, Space and DRDO have already set up headquarters called the Innovation Directorate. Ultimately they are going to work together but initially it is going to be a linked system, which will exchange information and work with people in social areas, health areas, etc. to find out their requirements and transform these technologies to meet their demands. The ultimate mission is to see whether we can even create an institute where all the three could pool in their knowledge and then try to create solutions which become a kind of a gateway to find inroads into societal applications or health applications by appropriate institutions that specialise in it. 



  1. odziez ochronna bhp

    January 16, 2018 at 6:53 pm

    Utterly pent subject material, appreciate it for selective information. “The bravest thing you can do when you are not brave is to profess courage and act accordingly.” by Corra Harris.

  2. zgrzewarka do rur pe

    January 16, 2018 at 7:15 pm

    I got what you mean , appreciate it for posting .Woh I am lucky to find this website through google. “Money is the most egalitarian force in society. It confers power on whoever holds it.” by Roger Starr.

  3. Lanqier Comfort Buty

    January 17, 2018 at 12:55 pm

    I dugg some of you post as I cogitated they were extremely helpful extremely helpful

  4. LawJobs

    January 18, 2018 at 12:46 am

    You really make it appear so easy together with your presentation but I in finding this matter to be really one thing which I think I would by no means understand. It kind of feels too complex and very broad for me. I am looking ahead for your subsequent put up, I will try to get the cling of it!

  5. ResortDeals

    January 18, 2018 at 12:55 am

    I have learn a few excellent stuff here. Definitely price bookmarking for revisiting. I wonder how much attempt you place to create one of these fantastic informative site.

  6. Mustang Obuv

    January 18, 2018 at 1:45 am

    Thanks for the sensible critique. Me and my neighbor were just preparing to do a little research on this. We got a grab a book from our area library but I think I learned more clear from this post. I am very glad to see such fantastic information being shared freely out there.


    January 18, 2018 at 9:00 am

    I have been browsing online greater than three hours today, yet I by no means found any attention-grabbing article like yours. It¡¦s lovely value sufficient for me. In my opinion, if all website owners and bloggers made excellent content as you did, the internet will probably be a lot more helpful than ever before.


    January 18, 2018 at 9:31 am

    I’ve been surfing online greater than three hours nowadays, but I by no means found any attention-grabbing article like yours. It is pretty worth enough for me. In my view, if all web owners and bloggers made just right content material as you probably did, the internet will likely be a lot more useful than ever before.

  9. Home Improvement

    January 18, 2018 at 6:49 pm

    I gotta favorite this site it seems extremely helpful very useful

  10. Vacation Ideas

    January 19, 2018 at 2:47 am

    I am constantly invstigating online for ideas that can help me. Thank you!

  11. Apartment Therapy

    January 19, 2018 at 2:56 am

    Keep working ,splendid job!

  12. Fashion

    January 19, 2018 at 8:13 am

    I was reading through some of your blog posts on this site and I believe this site is rattling informative! Keep posting.

  13. Accounting Principals

    January 19, 2018 at 3:04 pm

    Hello there, I found your blog by means of Google at the same time as looking for a related topic, your site got here up, it seems good. I’ve bookmarked it in my google bookmarks.

  14. Piromax

    January 19, 2018 at 4:44 pm

    I’ve recently started a site, the info you offer on this website has helped me tremendously. Thank you for all of your time & work. “There can be no real freedom without the freedom to fail.” by Erich Fromm.

  15. Golf Course

    January 20, 2018 at 12:21 am

    Thank you for another magnificent post. The place else may just anybody get that kind of information in such an ideal approach of writing? I have a presentation next week, and I’m at the look for such info.

  16. Health

    January 20, 2018 at 8:27 am

    I truly appreciate this post. I’ve been looking all over for this! Thank goodness I found it on Bing. You’ve made my day! Thanks again!

  17. International Economics

    January 20, 2018 at 12:59 pm

    Good blog! I really love how it is simple on my eyes and the data are well written. I’m wondering how I could be notified when a new post has been made. I’ve subscribed to your RSS which must do the trick! Have a nice day!

  18. Asian Fashion

    January 20, 2018 at 12:59 pm

    Whats Going down i am new to this, I stumbled upon this I have discovered It positively useful and it has helped me out loads. I am hoping to contribute & aid other users like its helped me. Great job.

  19. Business

    January 20, 2018 at 2:47 pm

    You have brought up a very good details , appreciate it for the post.

  20. Women

    January 20, 2018 at 11:11 pm

    I went over this website and I believe you have a lot of wonderful information, saved to bookmarks (:.

  21. Hotel Gorzów

    January 20, 2018 at 11:18 pm

    Good – I should certainly pronounce, impressed with your website. I had no trouble navigating through all tabs as well as related info ended up being truly easy to do to access. I recently found what I hoped for before you know it in the least. Quite unusual. Is likely to appreciate it for those who add forums or anything, web site theme . a tones way for your client to communicate. Nice task.

  22. Czym Wyczyścić Dywan Wełniany

    January 21, 2018 at 4:49 am

    Very interesting topic , thanks for putting up. “The great aim of education is not knowledge but action.” by Herbert Spencer.

  23. Career And Jobs

    January 21, 2018 at 8:44 am

    I do believe all the ideas you have offered to your post. They are very convincing and will definitely work. Nonetheless, the posts are too quick for novices. Could you please lengthen them a little from next time? Thank you for the post.

  24. Fashion

    January 21, 2018 at 4:52 pm

    I do consider all the concepts you have offered for your post. They’re really convincing and can certainly work. Still, the posts are too quick for beginners. May just you please lengthen them a bit from next time? Thank you for the post.

  25. 1950s fashion

    March 15, 2018 at 10:01 am

    I have read some excellent stuff here. Definitely value bookmarking for revisiting. I wonder how a lot attempt you put to create one of these magnificent informative web site.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Most Popular





Get Heard Portal


eHealth Event Report



To Top