Aarogya Setu, the government’s COVID-19 tracking app, has been making headlines lately, for reasons both good and controversial. Earlier this week, all central government employees were asked to download the Aarogya Setu app with immediate effect and come to office only when the app flags the status as ‘safe’. Now, a new report claims that the Aarogya Setu app will come pre-installed on all new smartphones. But that’s not all. Another report claims that the government will make it mandatory to register oneself on the Aarogya Setu app before a new phone can be set up and ready to use.
According to a report by Mint, citing two sources familiar with the matter, the Aarogya Setu app might soon come installed on new phones by default. The government had reportedly earlier asked smartphone makers to ship their phones with the COVID-19 tracking app pre-installed on them, but it couldn’t materialise since manufacturing operations had been halted due to the ongoing health crisis. And now that the smartphone makers are expected to resume manufacturing duties soon – provided the lockdown restrictions are eased – the Aarogya Setu app will likely come pre-installed on all new phones coming off the assembly line.
But the government is apparently looking to go a step further to make sure that the Aarogya Setu app finds its way on as many phones as possible. According to a News18 report, users might soon have to mandatorily register on the Aarogya Setu app while setting up their phone. This move will be enforced for all phones sold in the country once the lockdown lifts and sale of smartphones resumes in the country.
In order to make sure that the directive is carried, the government will reportedly appoint nodal agencies to work with smartphone makers and make sure that the Aarogya Setu app is installed on phones in such a way that the registration step can’t be skipped during the setup process. The government is reportedly enforcing this move to make sure that its COVID-19 tracing app finds its way to more phones by being an inbuilt feature.