A total of 142 companies including ride-sharing app services, paid a total of Rs 68 crore to purchase the detailed data of 25 crore vehicles and driving licences between 2014 and 2019.
The buyers also include some of the biggest public and private sector banks and insurance companies, automobile manufacturers, financial service providers. Companies like Ola Cabs, State Bank of India (SBI), HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, United India Insurance, Reliance General Insurance, Bajaj Finance bought the data from The Ministry of Road Transport & Highways’ VAHAN database, an RTI has revealed.
According to a Medianama report, the ministry has been selling vehicle related data since at least 2014. While it earned Rs 25.96 crore in 2018, it has made Rs 21 crore so far in 2019.
In line with its greater plan of using “data as public good”, the government has been selling, in bulk, the data of crores of vehicle-owners and driving licence-holders, including the data of insurance and tax paid so as to “benefit the country’s economy”.
Bulk Data Sharing Policy
The Ministry had come up with a Bulk Data Sharing Policy to sell 28 different kinds of data related to Vehicle Registration Certificate as well as Driving Licences. While the government came up with a formal policy to generate revenue by the sale of bulk data only in March 2019, it has been sharing vehicle data since at least 2014.
The data shared includes :
- registration number
- engine number
- model’s name
- dealer’s name
- financer’s name
- insurance company’s name
- insurance validity
- tax paid validity
A company that is at least 50 percent owned by an Indian can pay Rs 3 crore to get bulk data related to vehicle registration and driving licences for the financial year 2019-20.
Citizen Data as ‘Public Good’
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