(Image source from: economictimes.indiatimes.com)
Aside from the Aarogya Setu app which has been developed by the central government to keep the citizens informed about the spread of the coronavirus, the government has been indulging in other applications and technology as well.
The AAP government is using a cellphone application to keep an eye out and monitor the people who are suspects and are being home quarantined. The Delhi government is also working on a second application that would help track the movement of the people who live in high risk areas.
Both States and the Centre have already launched multiple applications in their efforts to ensure authentic spread of information and to fight the spread of misinformation around the country.
The most effective and talked about application amidst them all is the Aarogya Setu app launched by the Union government that alerts people if they are in close proximity to someone who is infected. It makes people understand the steps to self assessment as well. PM Narendra Modi also urged the citizens to download the application, saying that it can help contain the infection to an extent.
In a tweet shared by the Prime Minister, he stated saying, “Aarogya Setu is an important step in our fight against COVID-19. By leveraging technology, it provides important information. As more and more people use it, its effectiveness will increase. I urge you all to download it.”
If you are wondering how the app works, it registers in the age, profession, international travel history, contact, symptoms and even the medical history of an individual.
Once the app records all the responses, it provides with a risk assessment stating whether you have a high, medium or low risk of contracting the virus.
The application is available on both Android and iPhones and in the regional languages as well for better understanding of things. It also makes use of the phone’s GPS and bluetooth data to assess whether or not the individual has come in close contact with someone who is possibly infected.
Aside from the upsides, the application comes with its loopholes too. But, in case you want to stay alert, this application is a good option to download.
The government officials have also been trying out a number of AI based applications and technologies for contact tracing.
Faisal Kawoosa, Chief Analyst at Gurugram-based market research firm techARC stated saying, “The pandemic and the crisis situation that emerged out of it have resulted in a digital jumpstart, where even fencesitters and laggards are now going digital. We had all the enabling technologies around, just that our behaviours were not ready to accept them.”
According to Kawoosa, having such apps for early detection and better monitoring of such cases can actively help in improving such conditions and even combat it before it takes a turn for the worse.
Even Punjab has developed its own application that provides its users with realtime updates on the situation and status of the coronavirus in the state along with the list of precautions that one needs to take.
The Mahakavach app, developed by the Maharashtra government helps with contact tracing and other quarantine features. The governments of Goa and Puducherry have come up with their own version of the app with the “test yourself” feature, in case there are risks of you contracting the virus.
But, with so many apps around, the question about the security had raised in the minds of the people. There is no denying to the fact that the security is at stake but with the use of technology, it is likely that the organised use might not end up threatening the security of the individuals downloading the app.
India currently has over 9000 confirmed cases with over 300 reported deaths.
By Somapika Dutta