The government’s plan to launch smart driving licences in mid-July has been delayed as the earthquake has thrown it into disarray. Madras Security Printers, the Indian company contracted to implement the project, has been immobilized after most of its employees returned to India for fear of further tremors, the Department of Transport Management (DoTM) said.
The company has been ass- igned to change the existing licences and registration into an electronic system under a project funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
“We were planning to introduce smart driving licence cards from July 17,” said Basanta Adhikari, director at the DoTM. “However, the employees of Madras Security Printers could not proceed due to the earthquake. There has been some impact on the machinery too.”
The task of installing equipment and networks in the 14 zonal offices to use the new technology has been completed. The DoTM had also conducted a networking demo. Adhikari said the government now aims to start issuing smart driving licences by mid-November 2015.
The government had officially unveiled a dummy of the proposed smart driving licence in April. The new technology is expected to end duplication of licences, blue books and other documents related to vehicles by maintaining electronic records of all the vehicle owners. A smart licence is expected to last for a period of 10 years.
According to Adhikari, the smart driving license contains a 512 Mb chip in which data regarding the license holder can be stored. “This will bring down fraudulent activities related to driving licences to zero,” Adhikari said, adding that the department aimed to store vehicle registration information, insurance records and records of bank loans electronically.
“Presently, a person whose license has been revoked by the traffic police in Bagmati can go to another zone and get a new one. This is because of lack of coordination and networking. The use of electronic technology will bring such cases to zero,” said Adhikari said. Apart from this, carrying a smart card will me more convenient for motorists as it will be the same size of an ATM card.
During the first phase of the programme, the government envisages converting around 2.5 million conventional driving licences to smart cards. According to the DoTM, around 2.1 million licenses have been issued across the country so far. By the time the smart driving license system is implemented in mid-November, the government anticipates distributing 2.5 million licenses.
Once the old licenses have been replaced by smart driving licences, the DoTM will start chipping in blue book data. “We aim to combine the driving licence and blue book in the smart driving license within five months after the scheme is implemented.”