Aarogya Setu: Army, Prasar Bharati advise staff to download Covid-19 contact tracing app
The 13-lakh strong Indian Army and public service broadcaster Prasar Bharati on Wednesday joined a growing list of government entities in recommending their staff to use coronavirus tracking mobile application Aarogya Setu which recorded around five crore downloads within 13 days of its launch.
The Home Ministry, in its fresh lockdown-related guidelines, said use of Aarogya Setu will be encouraged for all employees in both private and public sectors.
The app, available on both Android and iOS mobile platforms, has been developed by the government-run National Informatics Centre, and was launched by the Union Health Ministry on April 2.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his address to the nation on Tuesday, appealed to people to download the app which helps users to know if they have come in contact with any coronavirus patient and ways to avoid the infection.
In his video conference with chief ministers last week, Modi mentioned that the app will be an essential tool in India’s fight against the pandemic and even referred to the possibility of its use as an ‘e-pass’ to facilitate travel from one place to another.
Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant said Aarogya Setu has become the world’s fastest to reach five crore downloads in just 13 days.
In an advisory, the Indian Army asked its personnel, ex-servicemen and their families to download and activate the app. The Army, however, asked its personnel not to use the app in office premises, operational areas and sensitive locations.
It also directed them to follow existing cyber security policies. The three services have put in place strict measures to prevent leaking of sensitive information through social media platforms The Navy is also learnt to have asked its personnel to download the app.
Several government departments are in the process of instructing their employees in this regard. Last week, the Indian Railways had asked its 13 lakh employees and requested their family members to download the app.
The HRD Ministry also directed schools and colleges to advise students and teaching staff to download the app developed to fight COVID-19.
Public service broadcaster Prasar Bharati has made it mandatory for its staff reporting to duty in office or in the field to download and activate the app.
The app was developed under a committee set up by the Prime Minister’s Office with active involvement of Niti Aayog and Ministry of Electronics and IT.
Sources said Tata Consultancy Services is working on testing and some of other aspects of the platform. Tech Mahindra and the Mahindra group are coordinating with the committee on the next version of the application and leveraging next generation technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning and data science.
Tech Mahindra is also working on expanding the reach of Aarogya Setu on all types of phones. The current version of Aarogya Setu app is fit for use on smartphones only.
The total number of COVID-19 cases in India crossed 12,000 while the death toll surpassed 400, according to official data. The country has been under lockdown since March 25 to check the spread of the disease.