2020-06-25 20:07:00
Niti Aayog

NITI Aayog, the government think tank on Thursday launched a behaviour change campaign called ‘Navigating the New Normal’ in partnership with Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), Centre for Social and Behavioural Change (CSBC), Ashoka University, and the Ministries of Health and women and child development . The campaign focuses on Covid-safe behaviours, especially wearing masks, during the ‘Unlock’ phase of the ongoing pandemic.

Developed under the guidance of Empowered Group 6 on covid-19 constituted by centre, the campaign has two parts– a web portal, containing resources informed by behavioural science and the use of nudge and social norms theory, related to Covid-safe behavioural norms during the ongoing Unlock phase, and the second is a media campaign focused on the wearing of masks.

“As India unlocks, one key worry is how do we encourage the public and institutions to practise Covid-safe behaviours. Until a vaccine is available, wearing masks along with practising hand hygiene and social distancing, will be important to slow down the spread of the novel coronavirus,” Amitabh Kant, NITI Aayog CEO said.

The campaign aims to provide people with prompts and reminders along with simple, easy-to-practice ideas of designing their environment in such a manner that practising these behaviours become easy. Developed in consultation with union health ministry and other stakeholders, the website aims to increase public participation and engage CSOs and NGOs. It will become a repository of strategies and collaterals to practise Covid-safe behaviours in different sectors. It aims to provide open-source access to anyone, including CSOs, NGOs, the public, institutions, anganwadi workers and district administration. With the availability of this information, institutions and civil society organisations can plan to resume their normal activities while practising Covid-safe behaviours, NITI Aayog said in a statement.

“Our future is dependent not on the virus but our behaviours. If we create distance, wear masks, or use a barrier like a vaccine, the virus can’t spread,” NITI Aayog Member Dr V.K. Paul said.

Paul maintained that special areas of concern are small factories and poor labourers, who comprise a large part of our vulnerable population, and where and to whom these messages must penetrate.

The campaign was launched in the presence of Paul, Kant, Principal Scientific Adviser K. Vijayraghavan, BMGF Country Director Hari Menon, noted lyricist and CEO and CCO of McCann Worldgroup India Prasoon Joshi. Senior officials of NITI Aayog, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, and BMGF were also present. As many as 92,000 NGOs and civil society organisations (CSOs) working with NITI Aayog too participated in the virtual launch, which was done via a webcast.

The portal focuses on easy implementation of four key behaviours in the unlock phase– mask-wearing, social distancing, hand hygiene and not spitting in public. The website will have sector-specific collaterals and guidelines for health, nutrition, and public transport (in metro cities).

“For a Focused Mask-Wearing Campaign. Media will be utilized in establishing the correct way to wear masks. Undoubtedly, this simple measure has made a big difference in the fight against Covid-19. Countries such as Japan and South Korea have made ‘mask-wearing’ a socially accepted norm. The mask-wearing campaign is designed by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in partnership with McCann Worldgroup,” said NITI Aayog in a statement.

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