The Central Information Commission has summoned Central Public Information Officers (CPIOs) from the Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY), the National Informatics Centre (NIC) and the National eGovernance Division (NeGD) for not furnishing details on who and how the Aarogya Setu app was created.
This follows a right to information (RTI) application filed by one Saurav Das in August seeking the certified true copy of the entire file related to the creation of the Aarogya Setu app, including the origin of proposal, approval details, companies/people/government departments involved.
He also sought the details of the law/legislation under which the app was created and is being handled, and whether the government has any proposal to bring in a law separately for this app and its handling. His contention was that the CPIO, the NeGD and MeitY have not provided any information.
Based on his complaints, the CIC directed the respective CPIOs to appear before the Bench on November 24 to showcause as to why action should not be initiated against them under Section 20 of the RTI Act. It has also directed the CPIOs to send a copy of all supporting documents upon which they choose to rely upon during the hearing.
Meanwhile, MeitY has clarified that there should be no doubt with regard to the Aarogya Setu app and its role in helping contain Covid-19 pandemic in India and it was taking steps to comply with the orders of the CIC.
It said the names of all those associated with the development of the app and management of the app ecosystem at various stages were shared when the code was released in open/public domain.
The Aarogya Setu app was launched on April 2 by the government. It was developed in record 21 days, and 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, it said. – The Hindu BusinessLine