How Indian Railways took the last-minute decision to make Aarogya Setu app mandatory for train travel

By: |
May 13, 2020 5:02 PM

A tweet posted from the Railway Ministry's official handle at 12.24 AM stated that it is mandatory to download Aarogya Setu mobile app, before commencing the journey.

railwaysThere was no MHA direction to the national transporter to make the downloading of the app mandatory.

Indian Railways has made Aarogya Setu mobile app, the government’s contact-tracing app, mandatory for passengers to travel in special trains. According to sources quoted in an IE report, on Tuesday morning, the key officials were surprised to know the decision as there had been no discussions about making the Aarogya Setu mobile app mandatory to travel on Monday, a day before 15 Indian Railways’ Rajdhani Express type special trains resumed passenger services to and from New Delhi. According to officials, on Tuesday, the decision was communicated verbally to zonal railways, just hours before the first set of special trains departed. A tweet posted from the Railway Ministry’s official handle at 12.24 am stated that it is mandatory to download Aarogya Setu mobile app, before commencing the journey.

An Indian Railways spokesperson was quoted in the report saying that the official IRCTC website started displaying the message and even sent messages to passengers who booked tickets. However, the mobile app was not compulsory for those travelling by Shramik Special trains, he said. The Standard Operating Procedure issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs did not have any mention of the mobile app. Earlier, a PIB release stated that passengers would be “advised” to download the Aarogya Setu mobile app. According to Home Ministry sources quoted in the report, there was no MHA direction to the national transporter to make the downloading of the app mandatory.

According to key officials in zonal railways, they had not been intimated about the decision before the tweet. On Tuesday, the message was passed to them verbally by zonal general managers, they said. The officials also claimed that there had been no discussions from the Railway Ministry about making the app mandatory for passengers. In the “Protocol regarding entry and movement of passengers”, issued by the Railway Ministry to zonal railways, Aarogya Setu was the second last point.

According to sources quoted in the report, given the last-minute nature of the decision to download the Aarogya Setu mobile app, passengers who were supposed to report to the railway station at least 90 minutes prior to their train’s departure, would have ample time to install the mobile app then and there.

According to an official, those who did not have the mobile app would be helped by railway authorities at railway stations and trains to download it on their mobile phones. On Tuesday, the officials claimed that there were no cases of passengers being denied travel on special trains for not having the Aarogya Setu mobile app on their phones. Meanwhile, it was pointed out unofficially by some within the Railway ministry that the Aarogya Setu developers were planning to introduce a feature- phone (non-smartphone) version of the mobile app as well, the report stated.

Get live Stock Prices from BSE, NSE, US Market and latest NAV, portfolio of Mutual Funds, calculate your tax by Income Tax Calculator, know market’s Top Gainers, Top Losers & Best Equity Funds. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Financial Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel and stay updated with the latest Biz news and updates.

Next Stories
1108-year-old Punjab Mail is back on track! Indian Railways to resume this train service from today; details
2IRCTC Special Trains: Indian Railways passengers, note! Timings of these 11 trains revised; details
3Ahmedabad-Mumbai Bullet Train: Atmanirbhar push! Industry urged to develop alternative for Chinese machines