New Delhi: It can easily be termed as another gigantic failure of the Narendra Modi-led government. The government has failed to control the pandemic. Now there is another example of its ‘Mission Failures’. The Aarogya Setu app was launched with much propaganda last year as the Covid-19 pandemic outbreak started wreaking havoc. The Aarogya Setu app was touted as the first line of defence against Covid-19. However, now it seems that much-vaunted app has faded into oblivion as the second wave of the pandemic sweeps India.
Close to 100 million people started using the app within a month it was launched. The government said in the Parliament that by the end of September there were more than 150 million users of Aarogya Setu.
An official source said recently that the app currently has a little over 170 million users. However, most of the people only use it for vaccine registration as it is linked to the Co-Win app.
“The application can only act if data is fed to it. Labs are testing, but not updating the mobile numbers on Aarogya Setu. So, the app has limited function in terms of helping identify emerging hotspots,” the official has been quoted as saying by ‘hindustantimes.com’ on condition of anonymity.
The official however, was quick to point out that the application was still sending early warnings on prevention of transmission of the virus.
A person involved with the development of ‘Aarogya Setu’ blamed the government for the non-use of the app. He pointed out that Aarogya Setu has the potential to be useful during the second wave of Covid-19 in India. “The technology is there but the government dropped the ball,” he pointed out.
Researcher Srinivas Kodali had a different perspective to offer. He also asserted that Aarogya Setu will be useful only if data is updated constantly. “Last year, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) was passing on the data that help in the targeted intervention using the application. Also the government promoted the app in a fashion that if one has Aarogya Setu, the person will not get the Covid-19 virus. However, the crucial point that should have been highlighted is testing. However, it was never done. It is important to analyse the fate of Aarogya Setu now that the government has started promoting Co-Win.
Software engineer Anivar Aravind had petitioned against the mandatory use of Aarogya Setu application in the Karnataka High Court. He was quick to point out that contact tracing apps are usually ineffective. “There is no data on how effective these apps have been,” he said. “In Iceland, it did not help; in Singapore also, it is evaluated. In 2021, the question we need to ask is why do contact tracing apps still exist,” added Aravind.
Aravind asserted that Aarogya Setu was an experiment that failed. “This was nothing but technology theatre. Aarogya Setu was a distraction against Covid-19 and now we have Co-WIN,” he pointed out.