IRCTC Withdraws Data Monetisation Tender After Protest
After facing severe flak over the privacy concern, Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), the ticketing and catering arm of Indian Railways, has withdrawn the data monetisation tender it had floated about a month back.
The tender had drawn criticism from many who feared it could lead to a violation of privacy of people who have used IRCTC's services since it sought to analyse data involving passenger names, contact numbers, addresses and even "login/password" credentials.
The controversial tender aimed at hiring a consultant to monetise a bulk of its passengers' data — since the government has withdrawn the data protection Bill.
The IRCTC has informed the withdrawal of tender decisions to the Bombay and National stock exchanges and also to the Shashi Tharoor-led Parliamentary Standing Committee on IT.
According to the tender, IRCTC envisages a revenue generation of Rs 1,000 crore through monetisation of its digital assets. For this purpose, the consultant would study consumer data from the Indian Railways' application.
However, after the furore, the Railways had tried to douse the fire by maintaining that the data monetisation move would be reviewed.
But, IRCTC maintained that the move was only to appoint a consultant who would suggest how to go about it without compromising the privacy of individuals, and the whole exercise would be under the purview of various data protection laws.
Incidentally, IRCTC, a railways PSU, had floated the tender after getting a nod from the higher authorities in the parent body.
The tender floated by the organisation had two parts. In the first part, IRCTC says it wants to "monetise the data in customer/vendor applications and internal applications of Indian Railways."
But it did not go down well with the IRCTC website users who voiced concern over the move.
Earlier, the central government had withdrawn the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019.
The government has maintained that it sought to bring a robust data protection framework for India and to set up an authority for the same.
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