Government Wants to Tap Data Potential before Divesting it: Piyush Goyal

The government’s plan to divest stake in Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) has been put on hold as it wants to tap the massive amount of data. According to TOI report, the ministry is looking for a better way to realise the value of the data before selling shares in one of the largest e-commerce sites.

According to Piyush Goyal, Railway Minister, the government will sell shares in Rail India Technical and Economic Services (RITES) and Indian Railway Construction Company Limited (IRCON) as was planned. But share sale of IRCTC and Indian Railway Finance Corporation (IRFC) will be done later. In case of IRFC, the ministry is awaiting clarity on the treatment of MAT (minimum alternate tax benefit.

At a news conference, Goyal said, “There is huge data with the company and that is not getting captured in the valuation. We are trying to see how we can utilise that.”

According to TOI, the government’s initial plan regarding all the railway PSUs was to sell 5-10% stake in each through an initial public offering. This was raised to 25% to conform with SEBI rules.

According to sources, the government is studying a report by an independent agency which has suggested a plan to revamp the services that IRCTC offers and make it more similar to travel portals like MakeMyTrip and TripAdvisor. If the plan works out, this would be the way forward for IRCTC.

“Based on a passenger’s booking history, he/she can get a message offering an Ola or Uber cab on reaching New Delhi railway station. We can also offer food options or a booking for National Museum or Rail Museum through the site,” an officer said. We can also offer food options or a booking for National Museum or Rail Museum through the site,” added an officer.

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