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COVID-19: Ministry Of Electronics And IT Issues Clarification On Aarogya Setu App

Bhubaneswar: The Government of India today issued a clarification on Aarogya Setu app after questions on its development and working were raised in public domain. In a clarification, the Ministry of Electronics and IT said, Aarogya Setu App was launched by Government of India in public private partnership mode to bring people of India together in its fight against COVID19.

“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,” the clarification read.

Attention has been drawn to media reports regarding orders passed by Central Information Commission regarding an RTI query with regard to Aarogya Setu App. 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 Government said, adding, “There should be no doubt with regard to the Aarogya Setu App and its role in helping contain COVID19 Pandemic in India.”

“Since 2nd April 2020, 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 same can be accessed on https://github.com/nic-delhi/AarogyaSetu_Android/blob/master/Contributors.md. On all such occasions, it has been clearly mentioned that the Aarogya Setu App has been developed by NIC in collaboration with volunteers from Industry and Academia. 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 portal has all details about the App including those regarding How the App works, COVID updates and Why one should use Aarogya Setu. Regular updates about Aarogya Setu App have been shared on all Social media platforms as also Government portals. Several TV shows and media briefings also have shared complete details about the App, its development and how it is assisting the fight against COVID19.”

As has been mentioned earlier, the App has been developed in a collaborative effort of Government and Private Sector. 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 COVID19. 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 COVID19 positive user.

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%. Thus, the efficiency of testing has gone up with Aarogya Setu. 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.

“Thus, Aarogya Setu has proved to be very useful in India’s fight against COVID19. Recently, WHO has also appreciated the role of Aarogya Setu in containing the pandemic in India,” the Ministry’s clarification further read.

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