Since domestic air travel was resumed in May 2020, confusion has reigned about whether use of Aarogya Setu is mandatory for passengers. The government has claimed that use of Aarogya Setu is not mandatory and passengers can fill a self-certification form instead. However, in practice, passengers are being forced to download Aarogya Setu prior to entering the airport or boarding their flight due to lack of clarity in the guidelines issued by the government. That's why we are requesting people who have undertaken air travel since May 2020 to fill a survey so we can figure out the scale of the problem and take appropriate remedial measures.
On 20 May 2020, the Ministry of Home Affairs issued an order removing "domestic air travel" from the list of activities prohibited during the COVID-19 related nationwide lockdown. Subsequent to this, the Ministry of Civil Aviation issued detailed guidelines for domestic air travel on 21 May 2020. These guidelines provide conflicting information about whether use of Aarogya Setu is mandatory to different stakeholders i.e. passengers, airports and airlines.
The government has stated before the Karnataka High Court that use of Aarogya Setu is voluntary and passengers who do not want to download the app can fill a self-certification form instead. However, several passengers have reported that they were asked to show their Aarogya Setu status and they were not given the option of filling a self-certification form. An added complication is that some states also require passengers arriving from other states to download Aarogya Setu prior to leaving the airport at their destination of arrival.
Need for systematic data collection
The prevailing confusion combined with the information and power asymmetry between passengers and officials has resulted in a situation where Aarogya Setu is voluntary on paper but can be made mandatory in practice. This has also been subject of extensive discussion among our community members on the Internet Freedom Forum and it made us realize that there exists a need to systematically collect data about this problem which goes beyond anecdotal evidence.
That's why we are requesting people who have undertaken air travel since May 2020 to fill this survey so we can figure out the scale of the problem and take appropriate remedial measures. While filling the survey, we request you to fill all the fields of information and briefly describe your experience in your own words, though the latter is optional. The results of the survey will be used only after removing all personally identifiable details of the respondents.