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New interface for CoWin app delayed as K’taka awaits Centre’s nod

Bengaluru: The Karnataka government’s efforts to develop a new interface for the CoWIN (Covid Vaccine Intelligence Network) mobile application, to provide state-specific features such as geo-tagging, will be delayed as the project is awaiting nod from the central government, officials aware of the development said
By Arun Dev
UPDATED ON MAY 27, 2021 12:51 AM IST

Bengaluru: The Karnataka government’s efforts to develop a new interface for the CoWIN (Covid Vaccine Intelligence Network) mobile application, to provide state-specific features such as geo-tagging, will be delayed as the project is awaiting nod from the central government, officials aware of the development said.

The Centre is currently finalising its plan to allow state governments to integrate their interfaces with the central portal that is used for Covid-19 vaccine registration, they added.

Karnataka deputy chief minister Ashwath Narayan said the proposed interface in Karnataka will consist of features like geotagging for geographical limitations on vaccine distribution and details like when a person seeking vaccination last tested positive for Covid-19, among others.

“There is a provision to interface it through their open API and we will build an interface on this. However, we are yet to get permission from the government of India,” Narayan told HT.

The move to create an interface comes after several techies resorted to coding to secure vaccination slots on the CoWIN app.

As the city ran out of slots amid huge demand, these techies targeted slots in rural areas surrounding Bengaluru. Several groups were also available on instant messaging apps through which citizens learned about available slots and managed their booking within minutes.

However, people in the rural areas struggled to attain slots due to lack of technical knowledge.

Explaining the status of the interface development, a senior bureaucrat in Karnataka said the central government is still working on its API policy.

An API (application programming interfaces) is a set of programming code that enables data transmission between one software product and another.

“Only after this API policy is finalised will we be able to complete our interface. We are looking at June 1 as a possible rollout date but we can’t be certain about this,” the official said, preferring anonymity.

Several Bengaluru residents have complained of having to wait for hours at crowded vaccination centres allowing onsite registration but return home without getting inoculated. They also cited difficulties securing a slot on the CoWIN app, which makes the development of the interface crucial, especially when the state is planning to resume vaccination for the 18-44 age group.

The vaccination drive for an estimated 35 million people in the 18-44 age group was initiated but called off at least thrice since May 1, with only a handful of private hospitals which managed to procure vaccines on their own currently administering doses to this age group.

In Karnataka, the daily infection count has declined over the past few days but experts believe it is too early to celebrate, pointing at the fatality rate which has consistently remained above 2% in the last three days. The state, like other parts of the country, is relying on vaccination in its battle against the pandemic.

On Wednesday, Karnataka reported 26,811 fresh Covid-19 cases, taking the active caseload to 4,09,924. Bengaluru accounted for 6,433 new infections, which pushed its active caseload to 2,07,357.

At least 26,929people have died due to Covid-19 in the state so far, including 530 within 24 hours on Tuesday.

Bengaluru accounted for 285 new fatalities on Wednesday, according to the health department data.

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