Author: Sakshi K. Dubey
We all believed that Aarogya Setu kinda sus, after Saurav Das approached the RTI seeking to know about the creation of the application and thus originated the curious case of Aarogya Setu app’s missing creator.
Here’s the full timeline of what we know so far:
Saurabh Das, who is a journalist filed an RTI over who created the app, including the proposal’s origin, the approval process, which government departments were involved, and any correspondence with private individuals contributing towards the app’s development – was filed on August 1.
Later, on October 2nd, the National E-Governance Division [NeGD] responded to Das stating that they had no information at all to provide him. Saurabh Das then filed a request for an urgent hearing at the Central Information Commission [CIC], citing the matter as one of “immense public interest.”
Yesterday, CIC issued show-cause notices to the Central Public Information Officers [CPIOs] of the MeitY, NIC and the NeGD following the agencies’ failure to disclose information relating to the process of the Aarogya Setu app’s creation, and the audit measures implemented to verify whether the personal data it has gathered of India’s citizens, has been misappropriated or misused.
The Order of Information Commissioner dated October 27 reads, “None of the CPIOs was able to explain anything regarding who created the app, where are the files, and the same is extremely preposterous.”
The CIC noted that one of the ministry’s CPIOs could provide no “plausible explanation except that the creation of the same involves inputs from NITI Ayog.” He was, reportedly, also not able to explain why the ministry did not have this information either.
The National Informatics Centre reportedly said that the “entire file related to creation of the app is not with NIC”. The IT ministry transferred the query to the National e-Governance Division, which said: “The information sought is not related to (our division).” Epic, toh kahan jaaye?
After all the fiasco, the government with Aarogya Setu replied that the app was developed with utmost transparency and Aarogya Setu also took to Twitter to show its varsity via Press Release quoting “is a product of Government of India built in collaboration with the best of the minds of Industry & Academia.”
Clarification issued on Aarogya Setu App. Aarogya Setu App is a product of Government of India built in collaboration with the best of the minds of Industry & Academia. Worlds largest contact tracing App, appreciated by WHO also. #SetuMeraBodyguard #IndiaFightsCorona pic.twitter.com/mbhQ4pTuZw
— Aarogya Setu (@SetuAarogya) October 28, 2020
The timeline has got things very confusing, but twitter has got it sorted with memes:
— sHubham….. (@vr_shubham) October 29, 2020
— Mohsin (@Mohsinisticc) October 28, 2020
The #ArogyaSethuApp was built to trace corona and now we are trying to trace who designed the app 🤦
— Swati Subhedar (@swatiSubhedar) October 29, 2020
2020 hai kuch bhi ho sakta hai, sounds very acceptable here:
— Samarth Patil (@SamarthDPatil) October 29, 2020
The launch of #AarogyaSetu was at around the same time as the Whitehat coding ads. Coincidence? I guess we might have just found out who's made the app.
— Anmol Bhotika (@actually_ab97) October 29, 2020
Among several theories, this shall be the mother of plot twists:
— దేవయ్య S/o బసవయ్య (@DeviprasadSD) October 29, 2020
And giving one more touch-up to this curious case- the latest update on the Aarogya Setu, the app now has added a feature to allow the users to delete their account permanently from the servers.