You may soon no longer need to carry a physical copy of your licence and vehicle registration certificate while driving. Instead, you can opt for a digital driving licence and registration certificate stored in a digital locker that can be accessed on a mobile phone or laptop.
The new scheme will be supported by DigiLocker, an initiative under the NDA government’s Digital India programme that provides a platform for online storage of documents and certificates.
The new scheme hopes to eliminate the use of physical documents and increase transparency and accountability as many people complain that they’re forced to bribe authorities because they’re not carrying the document, despite possessing valid papers.
“The system will not only eliminate corruption but is also a mega step towards realising Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Digital India drive. Citizens can use this at airports as a valid identity document,” Union road transport minister Nitin Gadkari said at the launch of the new initiative on Wednesday.
“If someone is stopped, he or she can show the driving licence on a mobile phone. This will benefit the common masses and ensure a corruption-free, transparent system devoid of red tape. Crores will benefit.”
But a possible hitch in the system is India’s notoriously poor internet services, which is necessary for digilocker to work. Web penetration in India is less than 20%, less than half of that of China, and prohibitively high data prices stop many users from accessing the internet.
Senior Delhi Traffic Police officials said it wasn’t clear whether producing original driving documents was mandatory under law. But in 2012, the department asked officers to fine drivers carrying photocopied documents.
“It is directed that vehicles be impounded or fined if the driver is not carrying original documents. The driver of the vehicles may be subjected to appropriate prosecution,” the order read.
Citizens who sign up for a digiLocker account get dedicated cloud storage space that can be used for storing documents such as voter ID, driving licence and vehicle registration certificates.
Having a digital licence and registration will ensure that if a traffic cop stops a user and wants to check their documents, they can verify the license directly from a mobile phone at the spot.
Opening a digilocker is free and users will have to download the mobile app. The DigiLocker integration with driving licence (DL) and vehicle registration certificate (RC) will make available over 190 million RCs and approximately 100 million DLs registered with road transport ministry.