Mon, 03 Oct 2022

New Delhi [India], August 19 (ANI): The Indian Railways CateringTourism Corporation Limited (IRCTC) has denied media reports about the monetisation of customers' personal data.

Some media reports including advocacy groups on social media platforms, had claimed that the company is hiring a consultant and that passenger data will be monetised by the company, as well as the government.

Reports also said that the stated objective behind this move is to generate revenue for the IRCTC, approximately up to Rs 1,000 crore. The consultant will be expected to study the data of passenger, freight and parcel business as well as any vendor-related data from applications of Indian Railways.

It also claimed that as per the tender, customer data to be studied and used includes, inter alia, 'Name, Age, Mobile No., Gender, address, E-Mail ID, No. of passenger, Class of Journey, Payment Mode, Login/Password,' in addition to behavioural data such as payment and booking mode, frequency of journey, etc.

A senior official of IRCTC clarifies that the company does not sell its data and there is no intention to do such things and media reports regarding this are totally fictitious.

The official also said that consultants are being hired to improve existing businesses. The consultant will also advise on new business lines which can be adopted by IRCTC and Indian Railways in near future.

A number of businesses like Rail Ticketing, Retiring room booking, Hotel booking, air ticketing, Bus booking, catering service etc. have been developed by IRCTC on its own platform. In the same way, a new business will also be developed by IRCTC on its own platform taking assistance or guidance from market leaders, and clarified by the higher authority of the company.

In addition to the clarification official says, IRCTC does not store any financial data of its customers on its system server, as at the time of online payment for its various services, control is passed on to the respective Payment Gateway or bank for the payment.

The official also clarified that as a commercial entity, the company continuously explores opportunities in new business areas. To carry out these activities in a more professional manner and also to safeguard the commercial interests of its investors, a tender has been floated by IRCTC to appoint a consultant of international repute.

The idea behind this is to provide better assistance and guidance to IRCTC and Indian Railways for developing monetization strategies through data analysis. The consultant will guide the company on the monetization of activities, new businesses in line with the travel and associated needs of its customers and advise on monetization value of existing Digital Resources, using anonymous data and observing various Acts and laws including IT Act 2000 and its amendments, User data privacy laws including GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation).

The IRCTC has more than 10 crore users, of which more than 7 crore are active users. The company is a PSU of the Ministry of Railways and has been at the forefront of providing premium services to the passengers of Indian Railways. (ANI)

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