The government had asked smartphone companies to pre-install the Covid-19 tracker on phones earlier but this could not be carried through since manufacturing was halted
Indian government’s Covid-19 tracker may soon be installed on smartphones by default, two sources from the smartphone industry told Mint. One of the sources is a smartphone maker and the other is from the Manufacturers Association for Information Technology (MAIT).
According to the source from the smartphone company, the government had asked companies to pre-install the Covid-19 tracker on phones earlier but that wasn’t possible since manufacturing was stopped due to the pandemic. However, it will happen once manufacturing resumes.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been urging citizens to use the Aarogya Setu to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and earlier this week, in a meeting with chief ministers, Modi spoke about “popularising the app and asked them to ensure downloads in greater numbers”. He gave the example of how South Korea and Singapore has succeeded in contact tracing with their apps.
“Based on those experiences, India has made its own effort through the app which will be an essential tool in India’s fight against the pandemic. He also referred to the possibility of the app being an e-pass which could subsequently facilitate travel from one place to another,” an official statement from the Indian government said.
According to MAIT, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) thanked the industry “for helping the app garner a huge number of installs, in a meeting with stakeholders today”. Officials told attendants that the app has witnessed nearly eight crore downloads already and Aarogya Setu has already set a record by becoming the fastest app to ever reach a five crore install-base.
“Industry representatives presented a ‘restart, restore and resurgence’ model to capture the global opportunity in the Electronics System Design and Manufacturing (ESDM) sector,” the ministry said via a press release. MeitY said that most participants wanted a “trilogy of schemes”, including production linked incentives (PLI), Scheme for Promotion of Manufacturing of Electronic Components and Semiconductors (SPECS) and Modified Electronics Cluster 2.0 (EMC 2.0).
According to the CEO of MAIT, George Paul, the industry body “recommended” a 6 PLI scheme for the entire electronics manufacturing industry.
“The ministry said that requests regarding ‘broadening the definition of essential goods’ to include Information and Communications Technology (ICT) products, retail/online sale of ICT essential goods, authourised sales and services of ICT essential goods, has been ‘taken up’ with the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) already.”
MeitY also plans to “promote electronics” manufacturing in India and provide Rs 50,000 crore for the ESDM industry.