The Govt of India sold national vehicle database of Indian citizens to car manufacturers and private companies like BMW, Mercedes and others for Rs 100 crores.
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On February 12th, 2021, Nitin Gadkari informed the Indian parliament that the government made more than a hundred crore rupees by sharing access to Vahan and Sarathi databases.
Private companies gained access to the database after paying a stipulated fee. It generated a revenue of INR 1,11,38,79,757.
In a written reply, the transport minister indicated the private company access to details of driving licenses and registered vehicles in India via the access of Sarathi and Vahan.
This data is also available to the home ministry, insurance companies, law enforcement agencies, freight, and auto companies.
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The prominent list of companies having access to the two databases includes Axis Bank, Mercedes Benz, Bajaj Allianz General Insurance, BMW, L&T Financial Services, and others.
However, the report comes after the transport ministry scrapping the bulk data sharing policy.
In 2019, the government restricted access to Vahan and Sarathi databases. In June 2019, the government took this step to prevent possible misuse of personal data and elevated privacy concerns among vehicle owners.
This report submitted to the Parliament indicates that the data collected before the 2019 decision remains with the private companies.
The personal data of vehicle owners remains with the private companies although the government junked the sharing of such information.
Furthermore, the minister responding to a question indicated that the government has no proposal to demand the deletion of such data collected by the private parties.
Without government direction, the companies can keep the private data collected under the bulk data sharing policy.
Earlier in 2019, the Indian government decided that the sharing of vehicular data will come under the Personal Data Protection Bill.
So, it restricts the access of vehicular data by private parties. They could only access reports generated after analyzing the vehicle data available in the National Register.
Under the new policy, the individuals or commercial organizations seeking bulk data need to pay a fee to the government.
As per government rules, companies have to pay three crore rupees while educational institutions using data for research purposes need to pay five lakh.