The Ministry of Home Affairs, in a confusing order, announced on May 1, 2020, that the Aarogya Setu mobile application, the COVID-19 contact tracing app, is mandatory for all private and public employees. The head of every organisation would be responsible for ensuring “100% coverage of the app among employees”, it said.
Two weeks before this order, the Prime Minister in his address to the nation on April 14, urged all Indians to download the mobile application to fight Coronavirus.
The order on May 1 was issued under the National Disaster Management Act (NDMA), 2005. According to the order, districts would be divided into Red, Green and Orange Zones by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. In areas demarcated as containment zones within red and orange zones, local authorities had to ensure “100% coverage of Aarogya Setu app”.
Attention! Aarogya Setu app can subsequently act as e-pass for travel, says PM Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today hinted that the Aarogya Setu App may be used as an e-pass to facilitate travel amid nation-wide lockdown due to Coronavirus. In a meeting via video-conferencing with chief ministers of states today, PM Modi asserted that the Aarogya Setu app is an essential tool in fight against COVID-19 and it can “subsequently act as e-pass to facilitate travel”.
During the meeting, the Prime Minister “spoke about popularising the Aarogya Setu app to ensure downloads in greater numbers.” Referring to how South Korea and Singapore got success in contact tracing, PM Modi said, “based on those experiences, India has made its own effort through the app which will be an essential tool in India’s fight against the pandemic. He also referred to the possibility of the app being an e-pass which could subsequently facilitate travel from one place to another,” the PMO said in a statement.
Despite the government's assurances that all Aarogya Setu data will be deleted, Katragadda told CNN Business that some information from the app will be automatically transferred to the National Health Stack (NHS). The NHS is a cloud-based health registry, currently under development, that will include citizens' medical history, insurance coverage and claims.
"Any residual data from the Aarogya Setu app will automatically move into the National Health Stack within the consent architecture, as soon as the health stack comes into effect," said Katragadda.
Aarogya Setu, the COVID-19 contact tracing tool developed by the Indian government, has released a new update allowing users to delete their account and all the associated data stored in the app. It has also introduced a couple of more new features like giving health data access to third-party apps and using Bluetooth contacts to assess risk levels associated with coronavirus.
While the app lets you delete your Aarogya Setu account, it is important to note that the data will be deleted from the government servers only after 30 days.