Driving licences, registration certificates to be uniform nationwide

The Union government on Thursday notified rules for common smart card formats for driving licences and vehicle registration certificates to standardise documents across all states and prepare a centralised digital repository that can also help in checking forgery and duplication.
While some states, including Delhi, already issue smart cards for the two documents, many transport authorities across India provide them on paper booklets, cited by officials as a hindrance to streamlining databases and enforcement of the law.(HT Picture for representation)
While some states, including Delhi, already issue smart cards for the two documents, many transport authorities across India provide them on paper booklets, cited by officials as a hindrance to streamlining databases and enforcement of the law.(HT Picture for representation)
Published on Mar 08, 2019 12:00 AM IST
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Hindustan Times, New Delhi | ByAnisha Dutta

The Union government on Thursday notified rules for common smart card formats for driving licences (DL) and vehicle registration certificates (RC) in a bid to standardise the documents across all states and prepare a centralised digital repository that can also help in checking forgery and duplication, according to an official.

While some states, including Delhi, already issue smart cards for the two documents, many transport authorities across India provide them on paper booklets, cited by officials as a hindrance to streamlining databases and enforcement of the law.

The smart DLs and RCs will also have optional provisions for a microchip, Quick Response (QR) code and Near Field Communication (NFC) technology like the one used by ATM cards, according to the government notification that amends the Central Motor Vehicle Rules, 1989, a copy of which has been reviewed by Hindustan Times.

“It was observed that the format or colour scheme or placement of information was different in different states. There was no similarity in the format of such certificates across states… Further, the quality of the cards was very poor. It was observed that the printing used to wither off after some time while the licence or the certificate of registration was valid for a substantial period of time,” said a senior transport ministry official who asked not to be named.

The transport ministry official said this will also curb duplication and forgery.

“In these specifications, we have introduced enhanced safety features where you will not be able to make a duplicate copy of the same quality. Previously, one could photocopy and laminate these documents.”

“In addition, the authentication of the DLs is done through an online system,” the official added.

Regional transport offices across the country are not authorised to issue paper booklets anymore, with the notification recommending the documents be provided on smart cards of two types of materials.

The materials recommended are polyvinyl chloride – a synthetic plastic polymer – or polycarbonate, a compound used to make durable plastic. The states can, however, decide the type of material to be used for the smart cards, according to the order.

“The enriched specifications are of high standard and will enable durable and good quality cards,” the official quoted above said.

The new norms will enable linking and validation of the information on the smart cards with Sarathi and Vahan — the government’s web-based databases of all driving licences and vehicle registrations, respectively. The applications are aimed at creating a national repository and curbing corruption.

The two databases are currently operational in 28 states and UTs across the country. The Sarathi application has a feature that can identify duplicate DLs. When a duplicate licence shows up on the system, authorised personnel can view all related records of the holder and take appropriate actions such as cancellation or clubbing duplicate licences. State RTOs are already using this facility to “de-duplicate” DL records.

The notification released on Thursday comes after Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad recently said the government planned to bring a law to make it mandatory to link the Aadhaar card with driving licences.

“At present, what happens is that the guilty person who causes an accident flees the scene and gets a duplicate licence. This helps him go scot-free,” the minister said in January.

Vishnu Mathur, director general, Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers, said: “It is a good move. Earlier some RTOs used to issue paper licences or a booklet, etc. Therefore, it is good they are now specifying a smart card kind of a licence system.”

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Monday, June 27, 2022