Ministry of Technology (Meity) said on Thursday it had rolled out a version of its Bluetooth contact-tracking app for 50 lakh Jio Phones, the cheap internet-enabled devices sold by Reliance Industries' telecoms unit.
India, which imposed the world's biggest shutdown in late March to battle the spread of the coronavirus, last month launched the Aarogya Setu (Health Bridge) app -- a Bluetooth and GPS-based application which alerts users who may have come in contact with people who later test positive for COVID-19.
The app, which was now been downloaded by 10 crore Indians, was initially available only on Google's Android and on Apple devices.
The government earlier this month made use of the app mandatory for all public and private sector employees returning to work as the world's biggest lockdown eases--drawing sharp criticism from digital rights' advocates.
The railway ministry, which is currently running special trains to take migrant workers and others to their home towns, has ordered all passengers to download Aarogya Setu "before commencing their journey".
A paramilitary force guarding India's airports and the metro train stations in capital New Delhi has proposed a similar plan for all passengers.
And in Noida, a hub for smartphone manufacturing on the outskirts of New Delhi, police are using the country's criminal code to ensure everyone on the road has downloaded the app.
© Thomson Reuters 2020
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