It's a puzzling irony. If you buy a low-end car such as a Tata Nano, your registration certificate (RC) will be in the form of a swanky, computerised smart card. However, for a high-end car such as a Jaguar or a Porsche, the transport department will give you the old-fashioned paper booklet.
The transport department had computerised its private vehicle registration process in the state in October 2006.
Since then, regional transport offices (RTO) have been issued smart cards to vehicle owners while registering their cars.
However, owing to a technical glitch, these smart cards cannot be generated for high-end cards.
"We issue a paper booklet RC for cars which are charged a vehicle tax of more than Rs. 10 lakh," said a senior RTO official.
The transport department uses a software called Vahan, developed by the Delhi-based National Informatics Centre (NIC), for the registration of private vehicles.
"The registration is handled by Vahan, which is based on the Smart Card Operating System for Transport Applications (SCOSTA). Vehicles that are charged tax up to Rs. 10 lakh can be fed into the software, but SCOSTA has no provision for seven-digit tax payment records. As a result, the Smart Card RC cannot be generated for these vehicles," said Prasad Mahajan, deputy transport commissioner.
Mahajan said that they have taken note of the limitations and have informed the NIC. The NIC has reworked the operating system, and the issue is awaiting the approval of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MORTH).
According to the present tax structure, for imported of company-owned vehicles, the transport department charges 20% of the cost of the vehicle as tax.
As a result, owners of cars that cost more than Rs. 50 lakh pay more than Rs. 10 lakh in tax.
Sources in the transport department said that the number of high-end cars registered in the state is not very high.
Every year, around three lakh cars and suburban utility vehicles (SUV) are registered in the state, of which, around 1,000 are high-end vehicles.