New Delhi: The Covid-19 tracker Aarogya Setu seems to be getting into a fresh controversy as top RTI body has pulled up the National Informatics Centre over denial of information on who has created the application.
Amid the Coronavirus pandemic, all Indians have been advised to install and login into the Aarogya Setu app so that people are able to check if they are anywhere near those who have been infected by the disease. However, in a new development, there seems to be a strange ambiguity regarding who has developed the app.
While Aarogya Setu’s website states it was developed by the National Informatics Centre and the Information Technology ministry, in response to a Right to Information query, both the bodies have reportedly denied knowing who created the app.
The Central Information Commission, the top RTI body, has issued a notice to the government for “evasive answers” on the creator.
“Denial of information by authorities cannot be accepted,” the RTI body notice states. “None of the Chief Public Information Officers were able to explain anything regarding who created the app, where are the files, and this is extremely preposterous,” it informs.
The Chief Public Information Officers and the National e-Governance Division have been given a show-cause notice and have been asked to appear before the commission on November 24.
“The Commission directs the above-mentioned CPIOs to appear before the bench on 24.11.2020 at 01.15 pm to show cause as to why action should not be initiated against them under Section 20 of the RTI Act. The CPIOs are also directed to send a copy of all supporting documents upon which they choose to rely upon during the hearing,” legal cases tracker website Live Law reported.
RTI Filed Over Aarogya Setu App
It all began with an RTI filed by Activist Saurav Das who raised a question as to why there is not much information about the creation of the app when it has been made mandatory for several activities such as travel. He sought details such as the proposal for the app, details of approval, companies involved, individuals and government departments involved, and copies of communications in developing the app.
He also raised concerns over data privacy as there is no information regarding how the data is being protected and what protocols exist to ensure there is no large scale leak or exploitation.
The IT ministry had directed the National e-Governance Division to respond.