Sunday, February 14, 2010

Smart Card to check fake DL racket

The flourishing racket in fake driving licenses and RC books may soon be a thing of the past. When you go to the friendly neighbourhood RTO, you will be greeted by woebegone faces, you will not be tapped on the shoulder by a fur line gentleman, who will ask from the corner of his mouth: “DL-aa?”
With Smart Cards for driving licenses and certificate of registration, the government has effectively bunged a spanner into the works of the DL racket.
Smart Cards cannot be tampered nor can they be faked. Smart Card are bio-metric enabled with fingerprint technology. Smart Cards have a visual Zone and a Machine Readable Zone. That means the visual zone will display your photograph, address and other details while the Machine Readable Zone is a chip that will reveal with a swipe the vehicle’s year of manufacture, model, engine number, charsis number, state permit, road tax and insurance payment, fitness certificate and registration details.
Regional Transport Officer, Siddappa Kallera spoke exclusively to Star of Mysore, on the various plus points of a Smart Card. Said Kallera, “Smart Cards are manufactured using biometrics and finger print technology. Each smart card comes contains 16 kilobyte (Random Access Memory) embedded microchip and information of the cardholder can be accessed easily. These cards are made of plastic. The National Informatics Centre (NIC) is providing the necessary technical support and software for smart card production while Rosmerta Technologies Private Limited has been selected under PPP model to give hardware and technical support to the department for the period of 15 years.”
Blood Group too
“Each smart card will have contact details, photograph and blood group of the cardholder. The card is also biometric-enabled. Importantly, the card is tamper proof. Once the system is introduced across the country, the information pertaining to all card-holders will be stored in State and national databases”, Kallera said.
At present the Smart cards are issued for those applying for DL for the first time and newly registered vehicles including second hands. Those who already have DL and RC can also get their driving licenses and registration certificates converted into digital format (smart cards).
These cards are tamper free and easy retrieval. They also facilitate on-the spot reading of the RC book and give all the relevant information about the vehicle at once, including the date of purchase, registration, previous owners, and traffic offences. The bearer of the card will have an insurance cover of Rs. 1 lakh in case of death for one year, and Rs. 50,000 in case of permanent disability arising out of any accident.
Karnataka is the 12th State in the Country to introduce Smart Cards and Mysore is the third city in the State to issue smart cards after Bangalore and Mangalore. The system of issuing smart cards (converting the data of licences into digital form) for motor vehicle driving licences and certificates of registration was launched at the Regional Transport Offices (RTOs) East and West here on September 8, 2009.
The driving licences issued in RTO West is 3,53,851 and 25,456 conductors licences. The Smart Card holders till December numbered 15,000. Whereas, in RTO East 3,936 DL holders are there and 2,878 Smart Cards have been issued.
People Speak:“This is a good task taken by the government to provide Smart Cards across the State. Smart cards are like a credit / debit card; it stores a lot of data which can be accessible only by the transport department, as it carries a security code. It also puts an end to road tax evasion and prevents fabrication of fake documents. As Smart Cards are tamper-proof the cases of using fake RC book will not be there. This is also handy while purchasing a used vehicle to verify that the vehicle is not a stolen one,” says Yashwanth, a student.
“While, Smart Cards are not being issued to farmers for driving tractors and trailers. The driving license are also not issued at the camps (conducted by RTO) at their respective taluks. It has been made compulsory for the farmers to collect the Smart Cards from the RTOs connected with their addresses. This is a matter for condemnation. The officials of the Regional Transport Department have made their own rules while issuing Smart Cards. – Prasanna, Karnataka Vikasa Vahini
“The Smart Card is of substandard quality. The letters are wrongly printed. Government has fixed Rs. 200 for the Smart Card. The actual fee for the card is Rs. 49. The other Rs. 151 utilised by the government, seems to be the daylight robbery. The Smart Card is required to be renewed once in three years; for poor people who have depend on driving for the livelihood cannot afford to pay for its renewal every three years.
- S.N. Veena, Advocate
“Self addressed stamped cover is required to be enclosed along with the application for the issue of Smart Card. It is difficult for us to pay Rs. 200 for the Smart Card. In addition to this, we are asked to pay additional of Rs. 30. Many a times, it happens that we may not be at home, when the postman comes to deliver the post. Therefore, delivery is delayed. Dispatching the Smart Card by post seems to be very cumbersome. It is helpful if the staff does the work when we go personally to the RTO.”
- S.P. Kiran, Social Worker.
“Due to lack of expert computer operators and adequate preliminary preparations the RTO office has gone haywire. Sometimes the photographs that come up on the smart cards, do not present a clear picture. When questioned about these the RTO staff express their helplessness. As such, it can be said that the new system can be likened to the old adage ‘old wine in new bottle’. - Hari Krishnaiah, former District Convenor, Karnataka Dalitha Sangha Samiti, Mysore

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