UPDATE: As per the recent directives given by the home ministry dated May 17 for Lockdown 4.0, the Aarogya Setu enables early identification of potential risk of infection, and thus acts as a shield for individuals and the community. To ensure safety in offices and work places, employers are advised to ensure that Aarogya Setu is installed by all employees having compatible mobile phones. District authorities have also been given permission to advise individuals to install the Aarogya Setu application on compatible mobile phones and regularly update their health status on the app.
The Aarogya Setu app could become the key facilitator for travel in India, as the Government of India is working on whether the app can be used to facilitate interstate travel. This comes just after the Indian Railways made it mandatory for all passengers on trains to have the government’s Aarogya Setu app installed on their phones. Government sources tell News18 that for interstate travel and movement, the Aarogya Setu app could be used for self-certification, following which the e-pass will be confirmed.
It is believed that once the lockdown is over in individual states, there may be a centralized e-pass which will be issued after self-validation using the Aarogya Setu app. However, it is not confirmed yet whether this will include all types of personal travel or will focus instead on modes of transport such as trains and interstate buses. It is also not confirmed yet how movement of commercial goods will be impacted by this.
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Government sources also say that strict legal provisions could also be in place, which would mean false or incorrect declarations on the Aarogya Setu app could land individuals in jail. It is believed that the Government will discuss the plans with all stakeholders soon.
Ahead of the special train services which started earlier this week, the Indian Railways made it mandatory for all passengers to have verified their declarations on the Aarogya Setu app before boarding. “Indian Railways is going to start few passenger train services. It is mandatory for passengers to download Aarogya Setu app in their mobile phones, before commencing their journey,” the Indian Railways had said in a tweet at the time. Tickets can only be booked via the IRCTC website. It is also mandatory to use the Aarogya Setu app if you live in or travel to the city of Noida, where being outdoors without the app installed on your phone, is a crime. It is expected that airlines will also make it mandatory for passengers to self-certify via the Aarogya Setu app before they board a flight.
Last month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had given the first hints that the Aarogya Setu app could be used to facilitate travel within the country.