New Delhi: The government said Wednesday the National Informatics Centre (NIC) in collaboration with volunteers from industry and academia developed the ‘Aarogya Setu’ app. The statement from the Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY) came amid reports referring to a show cause notice issued by the Central Information Commission (CIC) to Chief Public Information Officers (CPIOs) of the Meity, NIC and National e-Governance Division (NeGD) for their failure to explain who created the ‘Aarogya Setu’ app.
“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,” Meity said in the statement.
According to the reports, the CIC has asked the NIC to explain why it does not have any information about the creation of the app. The website mentions that the platform was designed, developed and hosted by the NIC.
“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 statement said.
Meity 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 through press releases and social media posts 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.” the statement said.
Some activists and organisations had raised doubts about the use of ‘Aarogya Setu’ app when it was launched in absence of personal data protection law. They alleged that it could lead to surveillance of masses by the government.
The government, thereafter, came up with detailed guidelines to prevent misuse of ‘Aarogya Setu’ app.
The Meity said that the app was developed in a record time of around 21 days to respond to the exigencies of the pandemic with lockdown restrictions. It was developed with 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.
“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 May 26, 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 statement said.