New Delhi, October 28: Who created the Aarogya Setu app? Even as the website of the mobile application states that it was developed jointly by the Ministry of Electronics and the National Informatics Centre (NIC), both the government departments deny having knowledge related to its creation. This was revealed in response to the queries raised by RTI activist Saurav Das. Aarogya Setu App of India Gets Praise From WHO For Helping Health Departments in Identifying COVID-19 Clusters.

The Central Information Commission (CIC), irked over what it described as "evasive answers" from the concerned departments and officials, issued a showcause notice to three senior officials in the government, Live Law reported.

The action by the top RTI body came after the concerned government departments claimed to have "no information" related to the Aarogya Setu app. The IT and Electronics Ministry, in its response to the information query, transferred the same to the National e-Governance Division (NeGD). The latter responded by stating that "the information sought is not related to (our division)", NDTV reported.

The National Information Centrics, while responding to the query on creation of Aarogya Setu app, told the CIC that "entire file related to creation of the App is not with NIC".

The officials who were sent the showcause notices are: S.K Tyagi, Deputy Director and CPIO, DK Sagar, Deputy Director Electronics and RA Dhawan, Senior General Manager (HR & Admn) and CPIO, NeGD.

"None of the Chief Public Information Officers were able to explain anything regarding who created the app, where are the files, and this is extremely preposterous," the CIC was reported as saying in its notice.

"Denial of information by authorities cannot be accepted," it further stated, adding that the answers received so far were "evasive". The pulling up of government officials by the RTI body comes as a time when the Centre is pushing for the maximum use of Aarogya Setu app to minimise the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

The mobile application is considered essential for public sector employees, and those travelling by train and flights. The government had described it as an essential digital tool in the fight against pandemic.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Oct 28, 2020 04:10 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website