‘Smart’ driving licences to be issued by DecThe government has been making preparations to issue smart driving licences by December-end after missing its initial mid-July deadline.
The government has been making preparations to issue smart driving licences by December-end after missing its initial mid-July deadline.
According to the Department of Transport Management (DoTM), the preparations are at the final stages. Last April, the government had officially unveiled a dummy of the proposed smart driving licence.
According to DoTM official Birendra Swar, the equipment required to produce smart driving licences has been imported. “We will start training the officials after the Tihar festival,” he said. The DoTM said that it had completed the task of installing the equipment and network at its 14 zonal offices to use the new technology.
The government expects the new system to end duplication of licences, blue books and other documents related to automobiles by maintaining electronic records of all the vehicle owners.
The DoTM failed to launch smart driving licenses in mid-July as planned due to the April 25 earthquake. Madras Security Printers, the Indian company contracted to implement the project, was immobilized after most of its employees returned to India for
fear of further tremors, and the government’s plans went haywire.
Initially, the DoTM will issue 160,000 smart driving licences. Two printing machines have been installed in Kathmandu and one in Lahan. The department plans to procure another five machines to print licences at its zonal offices.
The government plans to start issuing smart licences in December-end and replace the old ones as they are brought in for renewal. The government is also planning to extend the renewal deadline for smart driving licences.
“The smart licences will be valid for 10 years. We are planning to lengthen the time limit,” Swar said. The present driving licences have to be renewed every five years. “We will have to make an amendment to the act to change the renewal deadline. Renewal and issuance charges will also increase after the smart cards are brought out,” he said.
A smart driving licences contains a 512 Mb chip in which data regarding the licence holder will be stored. The DOTM is hopeful that
the new technology will completely eliminate fraudulent activities related to driving licences.
The smart licences will contain data like vehicle registration information, insurance records, records of bank loans and other details, DoTM spokesperson Basanta Adhikari said.
This will help the government to keep tabs on licence holders. Presently, a person who has had his driving licence revoked can go to another zone and get a new one.
Since there is no networking, the authorities have no way of knowing that somebody’s licence has been withdrawn. “Once this system is implemented, such issues will come down to zero,” Adhikari said.
As per the government’s plan, all the paper driving licences will be replaced by smart cards.
Around 2.1 million licences have been issued nationwide so far, and the figure is expected to rise to 2.5 million by the time the new smart licences come online.
After all the old licences have been replaced, the DoTM will also insert blue book data into the smart driving licences. “Our aim is to replace all the old licences by smart cards within five years,” Swar said.