IRCTC invites tenders to use reservation data | Latest India News
The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) has launched a tender for a project to explore how train reservation data, including possible personal data of passengers, can be monetized, raising concerns in terms of confidentiality. Indian Railway officials are now considering scrapping the plan, people familiar with the matter said.
The plan, unveiled as a tender, called for consultants to study the data with the aim of generating a revenue of ₹1,000 crores.
Railway officials told HT that this could now be withdrawn despite the publication of the request for proposal (RFP). “The railways may not proceed with the process due to issues with data protection laws,” an official said on condition of anonymity.
The RFP requested the consultant to study data from passenger, freight and parcel business of Indian Railways such as Passenger Reservation System (PRS), Next Generation Electronic Ticketing, National train information, freight operations information system (FOIS), track and parcel management system, customer relationship management (e-CRM) and supplier data from railway applications indians.
According to the RFP document, the consultant “will study customer data captured by Indian Railways, which includes master data of individual passengers/customers from freight, parcels and other public applications such as: name, age, mobile phone number, gender, address, e-mail address, number of passengers, travel class, method of payment, username/password, etc.
He also said that the consultant will have to study digital data systems that generate behavioral data such as passenger flow, class of travel, frequency of travel, travel time, reservation time, group of age and gender, method of payment, number of destinations and booking methods. .
Listed tasks for the appointed consultant include segregating monetizable datasets, identifying market potential internationally, and preparing a roadmap on how data can be monetized.
Consultants, the document adds, will need to study various laws, including India’s IT Act and European GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), as well as the now-defunct Personal Data Protection Bill of 2018. abandoned, and propose business models accordingly.
“IRCTC aimed to generate additional revenue by monetizing its digital assets by hiring a consultant. However, it is unlikely to go ahead,” the official quoted above said, adding that a similar expression of interest was launched by the IRCTC in 2019.
Digital rights groups criticized the plan, particularly the broad scope of the assessment the consultant was supposed to perform and the data that would be open.
“IRCTC, a government-controlled monopoly, must not prioritize perverse commercial interests over the rights and interests of citizens. And given the recent withdrawal of the Data Protection Bill 2021, such monetization becomes even more concerning,” read a statement from the nonprofit Internet Freedom Foundation (IFF).