The much awaited electronic driving licence, which will replace the existing paper driving licences, is set to be launched by the end of December, the Department of Transport Management (DoTM) said. The DoTM has been working to issue the hi-tech machine readable driving licence for the last four years.
Last October, the government signed an agreement with Madras Security Printers of India to print 160,000 smartcards. The Indian company was awarded the contract following an international tender as per the Public Procurement Act 2007.
According to the agreement, the Indian company is required to install the hardware, build the network, develop the software and train the staff to operate the system within 15 months.
“The company has completed all the necessary work to replace the existing cards with the electronic system,” said Mukti Bahadur KC, director at the DoTM.
The card, which will look like an ATM card, cannot be damaged by the sun’s rays or water. It will contain all the information about the driver and the vehicle including the vehicle number and be valid for 10 years.
“The card will also include a tracking system in order to locate the driver and the vehicle in case of an emergency,” said KC, adding that the licence would contain the bearer’s biometric information to prevent fraudulent multiple identities.
The new licensing provision based on smartcard technology is expected to help prevent counterfeiting of licences and blue books besides keeping electronic records of all the vehicle owners in a scientific way.
The Asian Development Bank (ADB), under its ICT Development Project, has provided $ 2.3 million to the DoTM for the project. Along with the electronic driving licence, the department has also been planning to introduce electronic blue books.
According to DoTM data, 2.13 million driving licences and 1.75 million blue books have been issued till date. The department will print 160,000 licences in the initial phase. It will order additional print runs as required after obtaining funding from the Ministry of Finance, said KC.