The new lockdown guidelines, issued by the ministry of home affairs on Sunday, seems to have diluted earlier advisories on making the government's contact-tracing app Aarogya Setu mandatory.
The app was earlier mandatory in containment zones and for all public and private entity employees. Privacy experts had questioned the efficacy of the app and the legality of mandating it.
On Sunday, the MHA notification said: "With a view to ensuring safety in in offices and workplaces, employers on best effort basis should ensure that Aarogya Setu is installed by all employees with compatible mobile phones." It also said district authorities may advise individuals to install the app and regularly update their health status.
However, All India Organisation of Chemists and Druggists (AIOCD) is up in arms against the Centre for allegedly promoting e-pharmacy firms through the AarogyaSetuMitr facility. The body has sought the government to de-link the AarogyaSetuMitr from the app.
J S Shinde, president, AIOCD, said that while its 850,000 members and their dependents are local but sidelined, "NITI Aayog promoted a few foreign-funded entities in contradiction to the Prime Minister's announcement on be vocal for local". Rajiv Singhal, general secretary, AIOCD, said the online pharmacy links were added four to five days back.