The Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs on Monday made it mandatory for airlines to share details of all international passengers 24 hours before the departure of their flights to help authorities with “risk analysis”.
The details will include 19 data points, including name of the passenger, date of travel, contact details, payment or billing information such as credit card numbers, travel status including confirmation and check-in status, baggage information, seat information, and travel agency or agent from where the ticket was issued.
So far, the only had to share the name, nationality and passport details of passengers with the immigration officials.
Under the Passenger Name Record Information Regulations, 2022, the new set of records will be stored with the National Customs Targeting Centre-Passenger – a database set up by the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs, which works under the Union finance ministry.
“The objective is to collect advance information on passengers for better risk profiling,” an unidentified official of the department told The Indian Express on Tuesday. “Immigration data is available only after the arrival or departure of passengers.”
The move is aimed at preventing offenders from fleeing the country and checking illicit trade like smuggling, the officials said.
Airline companies will have to pay penalties ranging from Rs 25,000 to Rs 50,000 if they do not comply with the new regulations, the notification issued on Monday stated. It added that the data stored will be subject to strict “privacy and protection” and an annual audit will be conducted to prevent its misuse.
“Processing of passenger name record information revealing a person’s race or ethnic origin, political opinions, religion or philosophical beliefs, trade union membership, health, sexual life or sexual orientation, shall not be permitted,” the notification said.
The passenger details will be retained for five years with certain exceptions, the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs said.
With this move, India has joined over 60 countries, including the United States, that have regulations on sharing prior information about passengers with customs or border control authorities, according to The Indian Express.