The government on Wednesday said the National Informatics Centre (NIC), in collaboration with volunteers from industry and academia, developed the Aarogya Setu app.

The statement from the Ministry of Electronics and IT (Meity) came amid reports referring to a show-cause notice issued by the Central Information Commission (CIC) to Chief Public Information Officers (CPIOs) of the Meity, NIC and National e-Governance Division (NeGD) for their failure to explain who created the app.

“It has been clearly mentioned that NIC has developed the Aarogya Setu App in collaboration with industry and academia volunteers. Aarogya Setu app has been developed most transparently,” Meity said in the statement.

According to the reports, the CIC has asked the NIC to explain why it does not have any information about the creation of the app while the website mentions that the platform was designed, developed, and hosted by the NIC.

“As per the orders of the CIC, CPIOs of MeitY, NeGD, and NIC have been directed to appear on 24 November 2020. MeitY is taking necessary steps to comply with the orders of the CIC,” the statement said.

Meity said that there should be no doubt concerning the Aarogya Setu app and its role in helping contain the COVID-19 pandemic in India.

“As was announced through press releases and social media posts on 2 April 2020, Aarogya Setu app was launched by Government of India in public, private partnership mode to bring people of India together in its fight against COVID-19.” the statement said.

Some activists and organisations had raised doubts about the use of the Aarogya Setu app when it was launched in the absence of personal data protection law and alleged that it could lead to surveillance of masses by the government.

The government, thereafter, came up with detailed guidelines to prevent misuse of the Aarogya Setu app.

The Meity said that the app was developed in a record time of around 21 days to respond to the exigencies of the pandemic with lockdown restrictions, only for the objective of building a “Made in India” contact-tracing app with the best of Indian minds from industry, academia, and government, working round the clock to build a robust, scalable and secure app.

“Since 2 April 2020, regular press releases and updates have been issued on Aarogya Setu App, including making the source code available in the open domain on 26 May 2020.

“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, and the same was shared widely in media also,” the statement said.

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