To announce a national mission to digitise health records in the middle of a pandemic—when healthcare infrastructure, financial and human resources are all stretched thin—is either visionary or gimmicky. The line between the two begins to blur when one factors in the lack of an actual financial commitment. 

The blueprint for digitising India’s patient landscape has been in the works since at least 2018. It was lightyears ahead of earlier efforts to standardise health records, which didn’t go very far. On 15 August, India’s 74th independence day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the National Digital Health Mission (NDHM).