Govt to roll out smart licences across Nepal

- Post Report, Kathmandu
Smart driving licences store data like driver’s identity and vehicle registration number

Jun 4, 2017-The government is all set to replace paper-based driving licences with smart driving licences across the country. Launched in December 2015, smart driving licences are currently being issued to those who have acquired driving permits from the Bagmati Zonal Transport Office. 

In a bid to digitise driving licences across the country, the Department of Transport Management (DoTM) is making preparations to launch the service in 13 other zones of the country beginning July 15. 

“We have asked the private firm responsible for installing necessary devices to make the platform ready as early as possible,” Rup Narayan Bhattarai, director general at the DoTM, said. “We have also instructed zonal offices to start data migration.” Likewise, the department has sent technical teams to train officials to start distribution of smart driving licences in zonal offices.  The DoTM’s latest move is highly ambitious, as it comes at a time when it is finding it difficult to distribute sufficient number of such licences in Bagmati zone alone. Also, many have complained about the quality of such cards.

To ensure smooth supply, the DoTM has already placed orders for 54,000 units of cards in the first phase and 80,000 units of cards for the second phase of distribution. “We have already ordered 80,000 cards complying with conditions of the Asian Development Bank (ADB),” said Bhattarai.

In addition to this, the department has also floated a 45-day global tender notice for procurement of one million units of smart driving licences. “We are hopeful about receiving one million cards within October,” Bhattarai said, adding, “Agreement related to quality, including a third-party test before distribution of the licence, has 

been made.”

The smart driving licences are similar to ATM cards issued by banks. They contain electronic chips similar to SIM cards and store information like the driver’s identity and vehicle registration number. The data recorded on the smart driving licences is accessible to all the transport offices across the country and linkages have been created with the traffic police, police and insurance agencies, among others, so that they can get complete information about the drivers.

The DoTM plans to completely replace paper-based licences with technology-enabled licences within three to five years. Till date, the DoTM has issued around two million driving licences, out of which around 1.5 million are estimated to be active. Apart from smart driving licences, the DoTM is also procuring machines that can read details mentioned in the card. 

While the government has started distributing smart driving licences, the traffic police authority hasn’t been able to tap the benefits due to the unavailability of such machines. “We have limited number of such machines. We are aware about this issue and hence have begun initiation to purchase these devices,” Bhattarai said.

Published: 04-06-2017 08:18

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