As public health infrastructures globally struggle to cope with the Covid-19 pandemic, it is reasonable that governments are turning to technological tools to bolster their Covid-19 response. In India, as well, there has been a strong impetus for technology adoption in response to the pandemic.
However, in India, adoption has outpaced governance - with data-driven technologies continuing to operate largely in a legal and policy vacuum. For example, Aarogya Setu, the government’s Covid-19 contact tracing app, has been criticized by civil society actors for violating privacy, possible misuse of data, and failing to adhere to existing legal frameworks. However, Aarogya Setu is only one application amongst many being developed and deployed by state and private actors. Consequently, other applications have not received the same amount of public scrutiny and attention.
In May 2020, Tandem Research began tracking the adoption of technological tools to manage public health concerns related to Covid-19 in India. While in recent times, researchers and other civil society organisations have reviewed several of the applications and tools rolled out by respective state governments in India, our tracker also includes private sector players. The broader goal of this report is to identify the challenges and gaps in the provision of responsible digital health services in India during the pandemic.
The rapid review of tech tools for Covid-19 accompanying this report can be accessed at: www.techtoolsforCovid19.in