No info about creation of Aarogya Setu app: MeitY

No information about creation of Aarogya Setu app: MeitY; CIC issues show cause notice

The Information Commissioner was hearing the plea of one Saurav Das who had sought to know from the government details about the creation of Aarogya Setu application

Aarogya Setu application. Credit: DH File Photo

The Union government's Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has told the Central Information Commission that it has no clue who has created 'Aarogya Setu', being promoted during Covid-19 pandemic to fight the coronavirus.

Following the news report, MeitY issued a statement that on April 2, 2020, Aarogya Setu App was launched by the Union government in public-private partnership mode to bring people of India together in its fight against Covid-19.

"The App has been developed in the most transparent manner and all details and documents including privacy policy and data access and knowledge sharing protocols issued on May 11, 2020 has been uploaded on the AarogyaSetu Portal –," it said.

It also said the App has been downloaded by more than 16.23 crore users and has greatly augmented the efforts of frontline health workers in the fight against Covid- 19.

During hearing in a matter, S K Tyagi, deputy director and CPIO, MeitY was asked as to from where the information relating to the creation of app can be accessed. He could not explain as to how it is possible that the App was created and the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has no clue about its origin, Information Commissioner Vanaja N Sarna noted.

None of the officials, including of National E-Governance Division NeGD), MeitY and NIC were able to explain anything regarding who created the App, where are the files, which was "extremely preposterous", the CIC said.

The transparency panel was hearing a plea by RTI applicant Saurav Das, who was denied information related to the app. He claimed this was a grave breach of the fundamental right to privacy on a massive scale and threatened people’s constitutionally guaranteed right to life and liberty.

It issued a show cause notice Tyagi, Deputy Director and CPIO, D K Sagar, Deputy Director Electronics, R A Dhawan, Senior General Manager (HR and Administration) and CPIO NeGD Swarup Dutta, CPIO NIC, why a penalty should not be imposed on them for an evasive reply.

In its order, the Commission noted as per the website it is mentioned that the content is owned, updated and maintained by MyGov and MeitY. 

"Therefore, Tyagi is directed to explain in writing who is the concerned CPIO to explain regarding MyGov, MeiTY maintaining the app. The CPIO NIC also should explain that when in the website it is mentioned that Aarogya Setu Platform is designed, developed and hosted by National Informatics Centre, Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology, Government of India, then how is it that they do not have any information about creation of the App," the panel said in its order passed on October 26.

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