Government is Selling Registration and License Data to Private Companies

The selling out of public data to private companies in order to increase revenue has been going since long. According to a recent report, Nitin Gadkari, Minister of Road Transport and Highways, answering to the questions in a parliament meeting revealed that the Indian government is selling vehicle registration and driving license data in order to earn money from private companies.

The confidential public data is being sold by the government at a price tag of INR 3 crores. The reports suggest that the government has already sold the data to multiple companies and has earned a revenue of INR 65 crore. The process has brought out one of the most crucial questions of whether our private license and vehicle data shared to the private companies are in safe hands or not? Also, it might pose a privacy concern for us in the future.

Officially known as the Vahan and Sarathi database, the government of India in a Rajya Sabha meeting confirmed that they have sold the data to 87 private companies in addition to the 32 government entities.

When asked by the Congress MP, Husain Dalwai: “If the government has intended to sell Vahan and Sarathi database in bulk, (and) if so, the estimated revenue for such a sale”, the government officials confirmed the revenue of INR 65 crores till date. According to the reports, the Vahan and Sarathi database consists of 25 crore vehicle registration records and 15 crore driving license records.

Specifying the recent economic budget details of 2019, Nitin Gadkari confirmed the official amount of bulk data selling at INR 3 crore per organisation in a written statement to the Rajya Sabha.

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As per the new rules, the educational institutes can buy the bulk Vahan and Sarathi data for information and research purposes only, at a price tag of INR 5 lakhs. The database now also features the stolen vehicles records that have been provided to the government by the National Crime Records Bureau.

The Indian government has not yet initiated a proper data protection law while the Fundamental Right under Article 21 has not yet been followed with full force as of now. Since the scrapping of data from illegal websites is an official offence, it is the first time the Indian govt has agreed to have done it for their own profit. It is not yet clear how the private automobile companies will be using the private vehicle and license data for their own benefits besides using it for targeting more customers.

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