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National Migrant Information System does not have data retention policy: RTI reply

The National Migrant Information System (NIMS) does not have a data retention policy, and migrant workers do not have the option to delete their data, the National Disaster Management Authority has said. In response to an RTI application filed by MediaNama, the NDMA has, however, said that the data stored on the portal will not be shared with third parties. Aadhaar can be collected from migrant workers enrolling on the system, but the document is not mandatory.

What is NIMS? The NIMS was announced in May 2020, in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, when thousands of migrant workers — also referred to as guest workers — were trying to make way to their hometowns. The NIMS was supposed to be an online dashboard that would help the “smooth movement of stranded persons across States”, according to a letter issued at the time by Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla to all states and Union territories. It would serve as a central repository that would help states seek and give permission for the movement of migrants.

What the RTI reply says

  • Data stored on NIC cloud infra: The data on NIMS will be stored on the National Informatics Centre’s cloud infrastructure.
  • No data retention policy: The portal has no data retention policy, indicating that the data could be stored for perpetuity.
  • No option to delete data: Migrant workers have no option to delete their data.
  • No data sharing with third parties: MediaNama asked whether any of the information on the portal would be shared to any third parties, and whether there would be a ledger to track the information shared. The NDMA replied that the portal will not be shared to third parties.
  • Aadhaar not mandatory: MediaNama asked whether Aadhaar could be collected from migrants as part of the portal. The NDMA replied in the affirmative, but added that Aadhaar is not mandatory.
    • The portal will collect the following information from migrant labourers: Name, Gender, Age, Mobile No, ID Type, ID No, Migrant Origin District, Migrant Destination State, Migrant Destination District
  • No framework specific to NIMS: MediaNama asked if there is a legislative or executive framework governing NIMS. The NDMA replied: This is a technical platform for the use of stakeholders developed, there is no legislation or executive framework develop for the purpose.”
  • Not mandatory for states to upload information: It is not mandatory for states to upload information on the portal.
  • Developed wholly by NDMA: On being for a list of participants who developed the portal, the reply listed only NDMA. The reply added that “it is a indigenous GIS based application developed NDMA”.

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