Most tech can be shaped to have more benefits than negatives was not just a statement made by Bill Gates who is best known as the co-founder of Microsoft Corporation and has been on a three-day visit to India to assess the work that his foundation had been carrying out there, but a serious thought for each one of us to ponder over at least for now, considering the fact that new technologies are trying to shape our lives every single day and we cannot afford to ignore the limitations involved with using them. He has also mentioned that technology has played a role in helping improve the conditions of human lives. The life span of humans had improved than what it had been 200 years ago, be it electricity, transport, better seeds, vaccines for diseases like measles and other diseases that are affecting childhood. Currently, the presence of social media that is filled with many benefits as well as limitations. They include political comments and dialogues that is a limiting factor.
Bill Gates also firmly believes most technologies can be shaped to have more benefits than negatives. He also adds that there are a lot of smart people involved in dealing with these challenges. Moreover, he goes on to add that the India health story has definitely seen progress, but it is still a glass that is only half filled. The deaths during childhood have declined to a great extent. Better life expectancy rates as compared to what was prevailing in the early 90s is a reality that cannot be ignored. He has also mentioned that India has brought in new vaccines, one being the rotavirus vaccine and there is also a plan to introduce pneumococcus vaccine. Gates adds that they have entered into a
partnership with Government of India, Ministry of Health and for specific states such as Bihar and Uttar Pradesh in order to continue to help improve the health system, by also focussing on reduction of childhood death rates and maternal death rates. There was a mention on how Bill Gates had stated that they have been doing two kinds of innovations. The first being the capacity to process fecal sludge with a lower cost plant. The fecal sludge is required to be collected and move it to the plant. There is also the factor of plants of different sizes and lower cost than what had existed earlier. The companies had been delivering these earlier and it is a reality according to Gates. He had mentioned about the re-invented toilet which is still in progress. However, he feels that even if India which is currently not having any product and even if it were to come, the adoption may get longer than usual. Gates also has been advocating for a progressive system of taxation wherein the rich are paying a higher share of taxes. While taxing the rich, it is important for countries to figure out what works practically in such a way that innovation is not discouraged and businesses don’t feel that they are being disincentivized. Also, India being a country with higher healthcare responsibility towards its citizens, whether through the state primary healthcare system or through an insurance-type system, more taxes are required to be collected. Another aspect is on the salary drawn by CEOs and Gates mentions that he is not aware about any country which could have a concrete plan on that aspect. On being asked about his views on Ayushman Bharat programme, Gates states that they have been in dialogue with the Government to see if they
could rope in experts in order to develop their insurance plan, by which more resources can be put into it which helps to broaden coverage capability. He also adds that health insurance coverage is being increasingly taken up by countries such as India in order to cover huge population. PMJAY is a step that is moving in the right direction. He stated that they are sharing their thoughts with the government by providing technical advice, which helps in accelerating this as a benefit and is able to ensure its efficiency, while also understanding how the finances can be arranged by government.
On being asked what Bill Gates liked the most about India, he has stated that there are 1.3 billion people and several individuals with various talents. People coming from IIT form a major chunk of the lot. He has also stated that India supplies about half of the units of vaccines that are made all over the world. Moreover, his foundation has been having great partnerships with several groups in India about working on new vaccines. He had also been impressed by the ambitious programme undertaken towards sanitation. He is also satisfied about the major improvements in sanitation. With democracies not being easily predictable, opportunity for improvement is still present. Bill Gates admittedly mentioned that his foundation has done much work more than any country in the world and is happy about the outcome of these works.