Aarogya Setu, the contact tracing mobile application launched by the government to limit the spread of novel coronavirus in the country, may become mandatory to permit movement from one state to the other after the lockdown period ends on May 3. In a few days, the app will get a new feature called e-pass that will help people travel amid restrictions.
Said Sanjay Dhotre, Union minister of state for electronics and IT communication, to THE WEEK, "This app is user-friendly. The number of downloads is increasing at a rapid pace. Aarogya Setu will also be launched soon for non-smartphone users. We are trying to make the app useful in so many ways. I am sure every Indian will download the app and benefit from its services."
The government has asked companies like Tech Mahindra and Tata Consultancy Services to work on the next version of the application that supports 11 Indian languages.
Since it was launched on April 2, more than five crore mobile users have downloaded the app on their phones. Tweeted Amitabh Kant, NITI Aayog CEO, on April 15, "Telephone took 75 years to reach 50 million users, radio 38 years, television 13 years, Internet 4 years, Facebook 19 months, Pokemon Go 19 days. #AarogyaSetu, India’s app to fight COVID-19, has reached 50 mn users in just 13 days, fastest ever globally for an App. Salute the spirit of India!"
Available on Google Play Store in Android smartphones and App Store in iPhones, Aarogya Setu will help you trace the coronavirus infection by using your phone's GPS system and Bluetooth. It will help you in knowing whether you are within six feet from a COVID-19 infected person or not.
Once the app is downloaded, you are supposed to enter your health details, and mention your health-related problems.
Once the new update of the app is introduced in a few days, the feature called e-pass will help in separating individuals who visit public place and use public transport. Based on their health and contact pattern, the app will show three colours—green, orange and red—on its main page. The green status will specify that a person is a risk-free individual who can use public transport and visit public places like shopping malls and movie halls. If you have the orange status, it means you are not that fit, and you will be advised to avoid crowded places and follow social distancing. If you have the red status, you will be asked to self quarantine and your movements will be tracked.
If this app becomes mandatory while travelling, you will have to show your status before boarding a train or a plane. Only people with green status will be allowed to travel.
Said Ajin Prakash, an IT field developer in Kochi, to THE WEEK, "This application basically goes by what you reveal to it. But, considering your phone number is linked to your Aadhaar card these days, it will have all your primary information once you download it. If people reveal wrong information it defeats the purpose. So people need to reveal the right information about their health for the app to work well. It works with Bluetooth, and hence your location is always tracked."