SJM national co-convenor Ashwani Mahajan tweeted on this issue, tagging Prime Minister Narendra Modi, to flag his concern.
“Respected @narendramodi ji please see CEO @NITIAayog is promoting e-pharmacies with #AarogyaSetuApp which are illegally functioning in India. It is unfortunate that this App for fighting #ChineseVirus is made to serve foreign funded E-pharmacies,” Mahajan said. He also tagged commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal and health minister Harshvardhan.
Respected @narendramodi ji Please see CEO @NITIAayog is promoting E pharmacies with #ArogyaSetuApp which are ILLEG… https://t.co/NPt9Ed7yVl
— ASHWANI MAHAJAN (@ashwani_mahajan) 1588825962000
Mahajan had shared screenshots of NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant’s message that said Aarogya Setu now brings to you online medical consultations (call and video), home lab tests and e-pharmacy. “AarogyaSetuMitr, the stack powering this new feature, is developed in collaboration and partnership of @NITIAayog and @PrinSciAdvGoI,” Kant said. The NITI Aayog CEO had tweeted his message on May 3.Mahajan also referred to a Delhi High court order dated December 12, 2018, in the Zaheer Ahmed versus Union of India and others case, which notes the view of the petitioner’s senior counsel Arvind Nigam. According to Nigam, online sale of drugs was legally prohibited and a violation of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940.
The court had ordered that “respondents are injuncted from online sale of medicines without licence and the respondents are directed to ensure that the same is prohibited forthwith until further orders”.
On October 31, 2018, the Madras High Court had also ordered against the online sale of medicines without licence and asked competent authorities to stall it.
This controversy comes close on the heels of claims that the Aarogya Setu App can be hacked. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi also charged that the app is “a sophisticated surveillance system, outsourced to a private operator, with no institutional oversight – raising serious data security & privacy concerns. Technology can help keep us safe; but fear must not be leveraged to track citizens without their consent.” The Centre denied both these charges.