MP Saket Gokhale raises questions on Digi Yatra, Scindia responds

There have been complaints that biometric data for Digi Yatra were being gathered from passengers without their consent and the issue was flagged to the minister by Rajya Sabha member Saket Gokhale.

New Delhi: Digi Yatra is purely voluntary for air passengers and personnel at airports have been directed to collect data for the application only with the consent of passengers, according to Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia.

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There have been complaints that biometric data for Digi Yatra were being gathered from passengers without their consent and the issue was flagged to the minister by Rajya Sabha member Saket Gokhale.

Digi Yatra, which provides for contactless, seamless movement of passengers at various check points at airports based on Facial Recognition Technology (FRT), is currently available at a minimum 13 airports for domestic passengers.

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In response to the member, Scindia has said that the issue was examined and “airport operators have been advised to sensitise Digi buddies on consent taking process and keeping use of Digi Yatra completely voluntary”.

To support passengers with the use of Digi Yatra, services of individuals called Digi buddies have been made available at the airports.

The minister, in a letter dated January 24, told Gokhale that Digi Yatra is a voluntary process for seamless and hassle free air travel which is purely voluntary.

“Consent of passenger is pre-requisite for taking face biometric on kiosk based registration. Further, the data is automatically purged from the airport system after 24 hours of departure of the flight,” Scindia said in the letter, a copy of which has been shared by Gokhale on social media platform X.

The data shared by a passenger for Digi Yatra is stored in an encrypted format. For availing the service, a passenger has to register his or her details on DigiYatra app using Aadhaar-based validation and a self image capture. In the next step, the boarding pass has to be scanned and the credentials are shared with the airport.

At the airport e-gate, the passenger has to first scan the bar-coded boarding pass and the facial recognition system installed at the e-gate will validate the passenger’s identity and travel document. Once this process is done, the passenger can enter the airport through the e-gate.

The passenger will have to follow the normal procedure to clear the security and board the aircraft.

Digi Yatra Foundation, a not-for-profit company, is the nodal body for Digi Yatra.

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