India mandates Aarogya Setu Covid-19 tracker app on all smartphones

(Image credit: Future)

Smartphones manufactured in India would soon come with the Aarogya Setu app pre-installed on them. The app, which is used to track Covid-19 across the country, would be part of all new phones, once manufacturing resumes in the country. 

The federal government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi had asked for greater downloads of the app and popularising it as a means to counter the threat from the Covid-19 pandemic, which has affected more than 33,000 people in the country and resulted in more than a 1000 deaths. 

A report quoted sources in the smartphone industry to suggest that the administration had reached out to them to pre-install the app once production resumes after the lockdown. India has been under complete lockdown since March 25 with only essential services related to food and healthcare being kept open. 

Meanwhile, the government also mandated that all its staff should have the Aarogya Setu app installed on their phones. The federal department of personnel, public grievances and pensions issued a notification last night asking officials categorised as high to moderate risk to stay home and self-isolate for 14 days and constantly review their status on Aarogya Setu

Earlier this week, the Indian government issued an official statement quoting Prime Minister Modi to suggest that efforts should continue to spread the usage of this app and even suggested that the Aarogya Setu could become an e-pass that could subsequently be used to facilitate travel from one place to another. 

Given the doubts expressed by experts over the effectiveness of the app, which uses Bluetooth on smartphones to perform contact tracing, the government is now pushing for its increased adoption to ensure that tracing works effectively alongside the testing and isolation efforts.  

The government had also reached out to industry associations such as the Manufacturing Association for Information Technology to spread the message around the Covid-19 app, which has now reached more than 80 million downloads. 

Raj Narayan

A media veteran who turned a gadget lover fairly recently. An early adopter of Apple products, Raj has an insatiable curiosity for facts and figures which he puts to use in research. He engages in active sport and retreats to his farm during his spare time.