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Aarogya Setu App has been downloaded by more than 16.23 crore users, says Centre (AP)
Aarogya Setu App has been downloaded by more than 16.23 crore users, says Centre (AP)

Aarogya Setu app developed in govt and private collaboration, clarifies Centre

  • In a two-page clarification tweeted from the official handle of the app, the Centre said Aarogya Setu has also been appreciated by WHO
  • Aarogya Setu App was launched by govt in public private partnership mode to bring people of India together in its fight against COVID-19, says Centre

The Aarogya Setu contract tracing app has been developed in a collaborative effort of government and private sector, clarified the Central government on Wednesday.

The clarification came after Chief Information Commission (CIC) sought explanation from the National Informatics Centre for claiming that it did not have any data regarding who made the app.

In its response, the Centre said Aarogya Setu has also been appreciated by World Health Organisation.

Earlier today, CIC issued a show-cause notice to central public information officers (CPIOs) of MEITY (Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology), NIC (National Informatics Centre) and NeGD (National e-Governance Division) for withholding information and providing an evasive reply to a RTI application on Aarogya Setu.

The CIC came into action after the NIC, NeGD and MeitY failed to furnish information regarding the creation and development of the Aarogya Setu app through an RTI. According to the complainant, Saurav Das, the RTI was filed with the NIC which categorically stated that it “does not hold any information" regarding the creation of the application. The authorities at NIC then transferred the query to other related bodies which also failed to elicit a response on time. Due to the delay, the CCI has asked MeITY, NeGD and NIC to remain present before it on 24 November to explain why the government bodies should not be penalized for the given response.

"As per the orders, of the CIC, CPIOs of MeitY, NeGD and NIC have been directed to appear on 24th November 2020. MeitY is taking necessary steps to comply with the orders of the CIC," the Centre said in a statement.

The Centre in its clarification said that there should be no doubt with regard to the Aarogya Setu App and its role in helping contain Covid-19 pandemic in India.

"As was announced on 2nd April 2020, Aarogya Setu App was launched by Government of India in public private partnership mode to bring people of India together in its fight against COVID-19," it stated.

"The Aarogya Setu App was developed in a record time of around 21 days, to respond to the exigencies of the pandemic with lockdown restrictions only for the objective of building a Made in India Contact Tracing App with the best of Indian minds from Industry, Academia and Government, working round the clock to build a robust, scalable and secure App," it further stated.

Since then, regular press releases and updates have been issued on Aarogya Setu App including making the source code available in Open domain on 26th May 2020. "The names of all those associated with the development of the App and management of the App ecosystem at various stages was shared when the code was released in Open/Public Domain and the same was shared widely in media also," the Centre said. The same can be accessed here.

Aarogya Setu app has been developed in the most transparent manner and all details and documents including privacy policy and Aarogya Setu data access & Knowledge Sharing Protocols issued on 11th May 2020 has been uploaded on the Aarogya Setu Portal – aarogyasetu.gov.in, the Centre further stated.

The app has been downloaded by more than 16.23 crore users and has greatly augmented the efforts of front line health workers in the fight against COVID-19.

It has helped identify Bluetooth contacts of COVID positive users and issued alerts for helping people to stay safe. These Bluetooth contacts have been advised for caution, quarantine or testing depending on the extent of exposure to COVID-19 positive user, the Centre informed. "Amongst those who have been advised testing, almost 25% have tested positive. This is much higher compared to the overall positivity rate of 7-8%."

In addition, Aarogya Setu ITIHAS interface with location data has helped identify emerging hotspots where proactive steps have been taken by health authorities and administration in order to contain the spread of the virus, the Centre said.


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