The Indian Railways’ catering and ticketing arm on Friday told a parliamentary panel that it has withdrawn a tender to appoint a consultant to monetise its passenger and freight customer data, PTI reported.

The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation made the statement before the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology chaired by Congress MP Shashi Tharoor.

Following concerns by civil society organisations about privacy and possible misuse of data, the parliamentary panel had summoned IRCTC officials before it to state their stand on the matter.

On Friday, IRCTC Managing Director Rajni Hasija appeared before the panel along with some other officials. “IRCTC has withdrawn the tender in light of the non-approval of the Data Protection Bill,” an official reportedly told the panel.

On August 3, the Centre withdrew the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019 after the Joint Committee of Parliament recommended 81 changes in the proposed law.

The Bill proposed to impose restrictions on the use of personal information of people without their explicit consent. The items covered by the draft Bill included consent, personal data, exemptions that can be granted, storage restrictions for personal data and individual rights.

Meanwhile, the Hindustan Times quoted a person aware of the matter as saying that the IRCTC told the panel that it “never meant sell the data to a third party”.

As per the IRCTC tender document, the data that was to be studied for possible monetisation included information such as name, age, phone number, gender, address, e-mail ID, class of journey, payment mode, login or password.

The Railways’ catering and ticketing arm has over 10 crore users, of whom 7.5 crore are active ones.