Govt signs deal for smart card-based driving licences

The UP government today signed a tripartite agreement with National Informatics Centre Services Incorporation (NICSI), a Government of India enterprise, and National Informatics Centre (NIC) for issuing smart card-based driving licences.

The state government's Principal Secretary, Transport, B S Bhullar, NICSI Managing Director Rajesh Bahadur and NIC Technical Director Y K Singh signed the agreement in the presence of transport minister Raja Mahendra Aridaman Singh. Y K Singh said smart card DLs will be issued and applicants' details digitised using SARATHI software created by NIC-Hyderabad.

The smart card DL will be a tamper-proof plastic card embedded with a microprocessor chip with 64 kilobytes memory.

The chip will have a computerised photograph, biometric thumb impression, digital signature and other details of the applicant. This information will be maintained in the NIC database. The database will act as a national register and state register for the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.

Once a driver has a smart card DL in Uttar Pradesh, he or she can get it renewed in other states where SARATHI software is functional. If the DL of a person has been cancelled in one district, he will not be able to get a new DL in any district of UP.

On the occasion, the minister said the smart card will simplify the process of getting a driving licence and eliminate middlemen. To obtain the DL, an applicant will have to be present in the RTO office physically because his thumb impression and signature will be taken on the biometric device and electronic pad.

Issuance of smart card-based driving licences will begin from January 9, 2013, in 10 districts including Lucknow, Kanpur, Ghaziabad, Agra, Meerut, Jhansi, Allahabad, Varanasi, Aligarh and Barabanki. The minister said that issuance of DLs will begin in other districts by April 24, 2013. Sources said the scheme was on hold in UP for nearly three years because of delay in signing the MoU with the repeated transfer of top officials as well as other priorities of the state government. An official said that the price of a smart card based-driving licence would be Rs 250.

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