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No Fear No Favour

Who made Aarogya Setu app and How it was created? Ministries failed to answer.

By Ishank Katyal

The Central Information Commission (CIC) on Tuesday issued notices to Central Public Information Officers (CPIO) of Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, National Informatics Centre and National Governance Division (NeGD) for not imposing Right to Information (RTI) as they had given “evasive answers” to a RTI query regarding who created the Aarogya Setu app despite of the fact that the website of the app itself says that it was developed by National Informatics Centre (NIC).

The government said on Wednesday that the app was developed in the most transparent manner with private-public partnership in recorded time to fight the coronavirus.

“The Aarogya Setu app was developed in the record time of 21 days to respond to the exigencies of the pandemic with lockdown restrictions only for the objective of building a Made in India Contact Tracing App with the best of Indian minds from Industry, Academia and Government, working round the clock to build a robust, scalable and secure app,” said the government.

The CIC said in their notice that such denial of information by the authority cannot be accepted. They also called it “extremely preposterous”.

Activist Saurav Das has filed a complaint to CIC that various ministries have failed to provide the information regarding who made the app and how it was made, which companies and departments are exactly involved and the copies of mails between private people who helped to develop the app.

The query reached various departments over the period of two months.

Reportedly, NIC said that the “entire file related to the development of the app is not with NIC.” The IT ministry then transferred the query to the national e- Governance Division (NeGD).

The government said in the statement that the app was launched in the market as a public-private partnership. It was advertised to press conferences and tv commercials as actor Ajay Devgn as the ambassador. The main motive of the app is to help the people of India to fight against the virus.

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