RTO at your door: 90+% transport services in Delhi go ‘faceless’ in online push

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal launched the service from the IP Depot RTO on Wednesday, after which he and state transport minister Kailash Gahlot locked the gate of the office, a symbolic gesture to announce the closure of the centre
To be sure, all the 10 driving test tracks in the city will continue to be operational as a learners’ license is valid for only six months and the motorist has to apply for a permanent DL within this time. (Mohd Zakir/HT Photo)
To be sure, all the 10 driving test tracks in the city will continue to be operational as a learners’ license is valid for only six months and the motorist has to apply for a permanent DL within this time. (Mohd Zakir/HT Photo)
Updated on Aug 12, 2021 02:27 AM IST
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By, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

Delhi residents can avail of 33 transport documents online without visiting a regional transport office after the Delhi government on Wednesday launched the “faceless transport services” programme, which pushes online 95% of all travel-related paperwork, and has allowed the state to shut four of its busiest transport offices in Sarai Kale Khan, IP Depot, Vasant Vihar, and Janakpuri.

Chief minister Arvind Kejriwal launched the service from the IP Depot RTO on Wednesday, after which he and state transport minister Kailash Gahlot locked the gate of the office, a symbolic gesture to announce the closure of the centre.

“The Delhi government has taken a revolutionary step. Only an honest government could make this possible. Earlier, we used to hear that the fee that agents in the RTOs took went all the way to the top government officers. But now, it does not go anywhere — neither in the pockets of the agents nor of the top brass. This online faceless system has eradicated the need for agents and the chance of corruption,” Kejriwal said on Wednesday.

The project, a first in India, allows an applicant to appear for a learners’ driving license test from home.

On passing the test, the applicant is issued an e-learners’ license valid for six months.

To avoid any proxy test attempt — since it is no longer undertaken at an RTO under a licensing officer’s supervision — the software extracts the applicant’s data and picture from their Aadhaar card, and draws out their facial map using a live recognition system to match it with the image on the card. The test also includes a colour-blind test to match the road safety prescribed standards. All documents are digitally signed by the authorities and applicants, and delivered either through post or electronically.



The online learners’ licence test, which has 10 objective-type questions, takes 10 minutes to complete. An applicant gets the licence if they score six out of 10 marks in the computerised test.

Delhi has 13 RTOs, of which these four have been shut for public dealing. To be sure, all the 10 driving test tracks in the city will continue to be operational as a learners’ license is valid for only six months and the motorist has to apply for a permanent DL within this time. To get a permanent DL, a person will still have to visit an RTO to appear for a driving test on the government’s automated tracks.

Other online services include renewal and duplicate driving licence (DL) or vehicle registration certificate (RC), permit or RC transfer and so on.

“All [transport] services can now be accessed online. Only two services require you to come to the RTO now — to give a driving test for a permanent DL, for which all processes till the actual test, including the appointment and fees, have already been made online; and to get the fitness of your vehicle checked... All departments are under the process of going faceless and online,” Kejriwal said.

The state transport department began a trial of this project with 12 faceless services in February this year. Over the course of the five-month trial, the department carried out 342,000 transactions. Reports of the trial showed that the department achieved a transaction success rate of 80% in this period, and a rejection rate of 1%. The remaining 19% of the applications are on hold for want of documents.

Transport minister Kailash Gahlot said no applicant will be required to go to an RTO or transport department zonal office.

“Whether you are at home, office or a cyber cafe, you can get all the documents that you used to get till now by visiting an RTO. In the 75th year of India’s independence, this is a great gift from the Delhi government to the residents of Delhi. Now they have total freedom from long queues, brokers or middlemen,” said Gahlot.

An applicant can also call the Delhi government’s doorstep service delivery helpline number (1076), if they need assistance, said officials.

“Apart from this, three deputy commissioners in Surajmal Vihar, Dwarka and Sarai Kale Khan will also address grievances,” Gahlot said.

Ashish Kundra, Delhi’s transport commissioner said the department has also set up a WhatsApp chatbot to assist commuters, and details are on the department’s website (transport.delhi.gov.in).

Several motorists lauded the service.

Cheshta Mehta, a resident of Palam Village in southwest Delhi, was the first to get an e-learner’s license under the new system. “At first, I assumed that faceless services meant only the application process was online. But, I took the test at my home and on my laptop. if you upload the correct documents, the entire process is a breeze. I am sure many states will replicate this online system now. It saved me a day’s salary because otherwise I would have to take an off from office to visit the RTO for the test,” she said.

Yatharth Gera (43), a resident of Paschim Vihar, said the service helped him transfer the ownership of his vehicle. “I had to transfer my car to a relative’s name, and the faceless service made it completely stress-free. I hope they do not compromise with the quality of service after a few months or years,” he said.

For those do not have internet connections or are unable to use the online services, however, the department is setting up facilitation centres at all its 13 RTOs, including the four that were shut on Wednesday. Also, the same service can be availed by dialling 1076 and using the government’s already existing doorstep delivery of service scheme.

The 33 services have been merged with the doorstep delivery setup as well. “A nominal fee of 50 will be charged to complete the online process at the facilitation centres at RTOs and through the doorstep delivery system,” a senior transport official said.

The official added that nearly 100% Delhi’s population of vehicle owners are Aadhaar seeded, which makes the online system simpleer for the applicants. But those who still do not have Aadhaar cards will have to visit the RTO after applying online. “They will, however, have the option to file online applications,” the official said, adding that the facilitators at all RTOs will help in this regard too.

Officials also clarified that no transport office employee was relieved of their duty after the RTOs were shut. “All officials and workers were overburdened under the existing system as annually Delhi clocks around 3 million transactions from the 13 RTOs. So, under the new system, it has helped us optimise our resources. Some of the MLOs have now been put on road safety and enforcement duty,” a senior transport official said.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Sweta Goswami writes on urban development, transport, energy and social welfare in Delhi. She prefers to be called a storyteller and has given voice to several human interest stories. She is currently cutting her teeth on multimedia storytelling.

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Thursday, June 30, 2022