The Indian government’s covid-19 tracking app may soon be installed on smartphones by default, two sources from the smartphone industry — one a smartphone maker and the other from the Manufacturers Association for Information Technology (MAIT) — confirmed.
According to a source from the smartphone company, the government had asked companies to pre-install the app on phones earlier, but it wasn't possible so far since manufacturing had been halted. However, the same will begin now as manufacturing is expected to resume soon
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been urging citizens to use the Aarogya Setu app to prevent the spread of covid-19. Earlier this week, in his meeting with all state chief ministers, Modi spoke about popularizing the app and asked them to ensure downloads in greater numbers. He referred to how South Korea and Singapore got success in contact tracing.
“Based on those experiences, India has made its own effort through the app which will be an essential tool in India’s fight against the pandemic. He also referred to the possibility of the app being an e-pass which could subsequently facilitate travel from one place to another," an official statement said.
According to MAIT, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) thanked the industry for helping the app garner a huge number of installs, in a meeting with stakeholders today. Officials told attendants that the app had nearly 8 crore downloads already. Aarogya Setu has already set a record by becoming the fastest to have ever reached a 5 crore install-base.
“Industry representatives presented a ‘restart, restore and resurgence’ model to capture the global opportunity in the Electronics System Design and Manufacturing (ESDM) sector," the ministry said via a press release. It said that most participants wanted a “trilogy of schemes", including production linked incentives (PLI), Scheme for Promotion of Manufacturing of Electronic Components and Semiconductors (SPECS) and Modified Electronics Cluster 2.0 (EMC 2.0).
According to George Paul, CEO of MAIT, the industry body “recommended" a 6 PLI scheme for the entire electronics manufacturing industry.
Further, the ministry said that requests regarding “broadening the definition of essential goods" to include Information and Communications Technology (ICT) products, retail/online sale of ICT essential goods, authourized sales and services of ICT essential goods, has been “taken up" with the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) already. The MeitY also plans to “promote electronics" manufacturing in India and provide Rs. 50,000 crore for the ESDM industry.