By Prarthana Mitra
If all goes according to plan, you will not be required to make a dash for your drivers’ licence and vehicle registration documents, the next time you get pulled over.
The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways on Friday made its wishes known, saying that DigiLocker and mParivahan servers which store driving licences and car registrations digitally should be accepted by traffic police. Under the latest directive, e-documents are at par with their physical copies issued by the transport departments and must be attributed the same weightage.
This soft copy-centric directive came as an advisory for states to ensure electronic documents can be presented and accessed using government platforms. The advisory clarified that the two platforms authorised to pull a citizen’s driving documents in an electronic form are DigiLocker and mParivahan. “This is in response to a number of grievances/RTI applications received in the Ministry where citizens have complained that the documents available in DigiLocker or the mParivahan app are not considered valid by the traffic police or the motor vehicles department,” the ministry claimed in an official statement.
The data related to insurance of new vehicles and renewal of insurance will also be uploaded to the mParivahan and eChallan apps of the Ministry. The Insurance Information Board has already initiated the process and a daily update will be available very soon. “If the vehicle registration details on the mParivahan or eChallan app contain the details of the policy which is in force, then the requirement of a physical copy of the insurance certificate is also not to be enforced,” it said.
Impounding of vehicles, if the need arises, no longer necessitates the documents to be impounded as well. There is no need for physical siezure of the licence or registration in case of offence, announced the transport minsitry, as the law enforcement officer can now register the impounding digitally, on the database, through the ‘eChallan’ system.
This IT-based online verification of certificates is expected to help the concerned authority function more seamlessly, with less paperwork, and ensure better compliance and effective monitoring. It will undoubtedly save drivers and car owners a lot of trouble since it offers a legal alternative should you forget to carry a physical copy. It will also provide a fillip to the performance of traffic police and enforcement of traffic guidelines.
That said, the government’s insistence on popularising systems/databases where citizens are encouraged to upload personal information has recently come under a lot of scrutiny. In that regard, the directive may be viewed as another stepping stone in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s plan to digitise India.
Prarthana Mitra is a staff writer at Qrius.
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