“To monitor residents in Delhi’s Containment Zones, we will get the Aarogya Setu app downloaded on each person’s mobile phone,” Home Minister Amit Shah tweeted on June 14. The tweet also said that to carry out contact mapping properly, a comprehensive, house-to-house health survey will be conducted for every person, whose result will be out in one week. This tweet came after the Home Minister chaired a meeting to review the COVID-19 situation in Delhi. The meeting was attended by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan and other officials.
Downloading Aarogya Setu was made voluntary in revised instructions for Lockdown 4.0 issued by the Home Ministry on May 17. Shah’s tweet, and the Hindi version of the press release from Press Information Bureau make the app mandatory for citizens of Containment Zones but the PIB’s English version makes it seem voluntary (“For effective monitoring, all residents will be asked to download Aarogya Setu app on their mobile phones.”).
It is not clear if people in Delhi’s containment zones can refuse to download the app, and what the repercussions, if any, of such a refusal will be. A senior official in the Home Ministry, on the condition of anonymity, told us that the authorities who conduct home-to-home surveys in Containment Zones will be responsible for ensuring that people download the app. The official did not clarify if that meant the app was mandatory or voluntary, despite us asking multiple times, and directed us to official press release and the Minister’s tweet. We have reached out to the Home Ministry for clarification.
***Update (11:26 am): Updated with response from government official. Originally published on June 16, 2020 at 10:03 am.