In a few weeks time, travelling via Delhi Metro will require people to install the government promoted Aarogya Setu app, to make sure the person entering the coach is not a high risk from COVID-19. This is part of a proposal byCentral Industry Security Force (CISF) which has recommended phased opening of the metro services in the national capital once the lockdown is lifted.
CISF in its proposal has mentioned that using the contact tracing app could ensure that people are able to test themselves for the virus, and if they are reported as high risk (red colour on the app), they would be discouraged from using the metro. The plan, accessed by PTI, also says that wearing a mask, thermal screening of all travellers could become the norm for people going across various metro stations in Delhi.
But we’re more concerned with the use of the Aarogya Setu app, which is limited to smartphones for now. Making it mandatory for everyone taking the metro sounds unreasonable, when many people using the service belong to the labour class, who’re still using feature phones, that doesn’t internet, let alone mobile apps.
Depriving these people of using the metro doesn’t come across as a sound plan, as the discrimination will be unwarranted after the lockdown measures are lifted in the coming weeks. The app seems to have become the central focus for most government activities around COVID-19, which now involves the private sector as well.
Earlier this week, Zomato and Urban Company (previously called Urban Clap) have made it mandatory for their delivery and repair staff respectively, to download the contact tracing app from the Indian government, and even show their status to the consumers when they reach their destination.
The Aarogya Setu app is expected to add a slew of features in the coming weeks, and recently they’ve added e-pass feature to the platform, and since the directives for its use are still not clear, putting onus on the app to help them trace the affected people shouldn’t be the right way to go about.