More than a year after the Road Transport Ministry enacted the Bulk Data Sharing policy, it has now decided to scrap it altogether, citing privacy concerns, according to the Economic Times. The policy, released in March 2019, allowed the Ministry to sell Vahan (vehicles registration) and Sarthi (drivers licence) databases to companies, and educational institutions. Banks, insurance companies, and other financial service providers are among the companies that have purchased this database from the government (more on that below). Vahan contains data of 25 crore vehicle registrations, while Sarthi is a 15 crore strong database of drivers’ licenses. “There is a shift in the policy of this Ministry to publish reports specific to industry or stakeholders requirements, and further that there are issues in sharing of the personal information, it was unanimously decided that the 'Bulk Data Sharing Policy & procedure' should be scrapped,” the Ministry reportedly decided during a meeting with NIC and Home Ministry officials. The Ministry has also reportedly decided that it will now share reports generated on analysis of the data present with it, and on the basis of the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019. Why the Bulk Data Sharing policy was problematic: Apart from selling the massive database to companies and educational institutions, the policy also allowed the Ministry to share it with law enforcement agencies. The Vahan database includes things like, registration number of vehicle, engine number, model name, dealer’s name, and financer’s name, among other things. The price of the bulk data for FY 2019-20 was…
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