Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH), Nitin Gadkari reportedly informed the Parliament on Thursday that the government gave access to the vehicular database of Vahan and Sarathi to private entities. The minister said that the centre collected a revenue of over ₹ 100 crore by selling the vehicular data. As per the minister, Vahan and Sarathi database has been shared with 170 parties including law enforcement agencies, home ministry, auto, freight and insurance companies. It includes firms like BMW, Axis Bank, Bajaj Allianz General Insurance, L&T Financial Services, and Mercedes Benz.
In a response to a question asked in Lok Sabha, the Union Minister said, "The revenue collected by the Government by providing access to Vahan and Sarathi databases is ₹ 1,11,38,79,757."
The ministry has scrapped the bulk data sharing policy which was issued in 2019 that enabled it to share vehicular data such as driving licenses and registered vehicles. In June 2020, the transport ministry discarded the old policy citing privacy concerns and potential misuse of the data.
Gadkari also said that there's no proposal under consideration for the government that would direct these companies to discard or delete the database accessed by them. Earlier, the government decided that vehicular data sharing will now be done solely based on the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019. As per the policy, the commercial firms and individuals requiring bulk database will have to pay an amount of ₹ 3 crore whereas educational institutions will be able to access these data for research purposes only for ₹ 5 lakh.
While replacing the policy with Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019, the government said, "It was decided that rather than sharing the bulk data with any company or organization on the cost basis, reports generated on the basis of analysis of the vehicular data available in the National Register on the portal may be shared for use of Citizens or Stakeholders."