Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) has withdrawn the contentious tender it had floated to appoint a consultant for digital data monetisation.

“…it is to further inform that due to withdrawal of Personal Data Protection Bill 2018 by the Government of lndia, the above referred E-tender for appointment of Consultant for Data Monetization of lndian Railway/IRCTC floated by IRCTC, on 29 July, 2022 has been withdrawn,” IRCTC said in a stock exchange filing on Friday.

Previously, the Railway PSU had postponed “till further advice” a pre-bid meeting for the tender, which was scheduled on August 24.

IRCTC’s tender for appointing a consultant for digital data monetisation was aimed at improving customer experience as well as generating ₹1,000 crore in revenue.

Privacy concerns

The consultant was expected to study customer data, including name, age, mobile number, gender, address, email ID, number of passengers, class of journey, mode of payment, login and password as well as behavioural data such as payment and booking mode, frequency of journey.

The tender had led to a considerable concerns amongst experts and passengers over the privacy of their data. The Ministry of Railway had also been reviewing the project and it was expected that it would be withdrawn as the Data Protection Bill was taken back.

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Communications and Information Technology (2021-22) has also called officials of IRCTC on the subject “Citizens” data security and privacy, where it was expected to ask questions on the tender.

According to its train ticketing statistics, IRCTC has a user base of 11.69 crore, of which, about 8.36 crore are active with a daily new user registration at 50,987 as on June 30, 2022.

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