The Indian Railways, which had on Monday "advised" the passengers availing the special trains that started operating on Tuesday to install the government's Aarogya Setu mobile application, has now made it "mandatory" to do so.
While the guidelines issued by the railways for the 15 pairs of special trains running between Delhi and major cities of the country did not say installing the mobile app was mandatory, a late night (12:24 am) tweet by the railway ministry made it compulsory.
"Indian Railways is going to start few passenger train services. It is mandatory for passengers to download Aarogya Setu app in their mobile phones, before commencing their journey," the tweet said.
Sources said it was made mandatory after a Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) missive, following Prime Minister Narendra Modi's meeting with chief ministers.
Passengers, who do not have the app installed on their mobile phones, might be asked to do so after their arrival at the station, they added.
However, there is no clarity yet on if and how the app will be enforced, officials said, as the Supreme Court, in a directive, has said making it mandatory is illegal.
The Aarogya Setu app has been installed on 9.8 crore smartphones so far and is used by the government for contact-tracing and disseminating medical advisories to users in order to contain the spread of COVID-19.
The MHA has also said installing the mobile app will be a must for those living in the COVID-19 containment zones.