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Aarogya Setu’s organisational chart included govt officials, pvt volunteers, as per MEITY memo from April

Aarogya Setu

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY) had appointed the Director General of National Informatics Centre (NIC) Dr Neeta Verma as the “Mission Chief” of the entire Aarogya Setu system, a MEITY office memorandum dated April 8 reveals. The same memo names Vikalp Sahni, co-founder of Goibibo and Rahul Goyal, senior vice president of Goibibo, as the “MMT – Volunteers – Technology & Operations” who executed the app and coordinated with the team of engineers to manage operations. Goibibo had merged with MakeMyTrip (MMT) in 2018.

This office memorandum, with the subject “Organisational chart for the functioning of Aarogya Setu app and its platform ecosystem”, has not been released by the government or any of its bodies. Last week, the Central Information Commission, had hauled up the chief public information officers of National e-Governance Division (NeGD) and Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY) for providing evasive replies to RTIs related to Aarogya Setu.”

In an update to the April 8 memo, on April 28, MEITY made National e-Governance Division (NeGD) President and CEO Abhishek Singh responsible for the media strategy related to the app, it promotion and its content and creatives.

Here is the complete organisation chart, as it existed at the time:

  1. Dr Neeta Verma, Director General of NIC — Mission Chief for the entire ecosystem
  2. S. Mani, Deputy Director General of NIC — Project Head. Readers may remember that Mani was named the Grievance Officer in the Privacy Policy of the app.
  3. Lalitesh Katragadda — Chief Volunteer and Product Head who was responsible for the “vision, solution, architecture, key platform decisions and direction”. The former head of Google India is also responsible for evolving the product plan for the app, including its features, handling bugs, and enhancing usability.
  4. Arnab Kumar, the then Director of Frontier Technologies at NITI Aayog — Programme Manager and Product Marketing head who was responsible for coordinating across departments, marketing and public relations, translations, getting feedback from departments, aligning the platform with “policy”, maximising usage and engagement of the app. He was also responsible for “stepping up marketing effort towards get the app on every smartphone [sic]”. We have reached out to MEITY to understand which “policy” this is.
  5. Vikalp Sanhi, Rahul Goyal — MMT Volunteers – Technology and Operations. The Goibibo executives were responsible for coordinating and executing the product roadmap with the engineers and managing the operation, in consultation with the Project Head (Mani) and Product Head (Katragadda).
  6. V. Kamakoti, professor at IIT Madras — Lead for Security, Privacy and Legal areas who had to ensure compliance in all these aspect, put in a clear and simple Terms of Service and ensure that the app complied with those terms, “ensure National Security needs are served” while protecting the citizen interests and privacy concerns. Kamakoti is a member of the National Security Advisory Board (NSAB) that reports to the National Security Council.
  7. Abhishek Singh, President and CEO of NeGD (National e-Governance Division), CEO of MyGov — Head of Content and Creatives who was responsible for curated content and creatives for proliferation and promotion of the app, enhancing its usage, and the media strategy. He was added to the organisation chart on April 28.

Navrang S.B. a social media consultant, who has been “spearheading” social media initiatives for the BJP since 2010 and has been a part of the BJP’s IT cell tweeted this document on October 29. Navrang was appointed as a full-time consultant to handle the Home Ministry social media accounts in 2017. Two MEITY officials, on the condition of anonymity, confirmed the authenticity of the two uploaded documents to MediaNama.

We have reached out to MEITY to know if this is the organisational structure that is still followed and how many times it has been changed in the interim period. We have also asked them about the overlapping roles of Singh and Kumar.

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