The long wait for getting driving licences or registration certificates for new vehicles may soon be over. If a pilot project implemented by the Regional Transport Office (RTO) at Karad in Satara district takes off, the whole process might become a matter of just a couple of hours.
For the past one month, the Karad RTO has been dispensing motor-related documents within a few hours of filing applications, the first RTO in the country to do so. The service is optional and without any extra cost.
The current rules require an RTO to issue learning licences within three days of application and permanent licences within 15 days. Renewal of licences is to be done within 20 days, registration of vehicles is to be done within 20 days and the process of registration of vehicles from other states is to be done within 45 days, according to rules.
The RTO at Karad, the hometown of former chief minister Prithviraj Chavan, has handed over 940 permanent driving licences and 930 registration certificates to applicants in the first month itself. The service is in addition to the existing system of delivering the documents through post.
The initiative to hand over licences on the same day of a driving test was launched on March 19 and 14 licences were issued on the first day. Over 75 licences were sent through the postal department that day.
“The computerisation of the RTO has enabled the completion of the process within minutes of getting applications. If the necessary proof of identification and the fees are paid, any document from the RTO can be issued within minutes,” said Ajit Shinde, the deputy RTO officer and the in-charge of the office in Karad.
Motor vehicle rules allow the delivery of the documents only by post. Recently, the Karad RTO had sought permission to relax the rules to enable the office to provide the documents directly to applicants after verifying their identities through an Aadhaar-linked biometric system.
On February 26, the state transport department gave special permission to the RTO to undertake the initiative on a pilot basis for two months. In the past one month, the service has gained popularity amongst applicants. The RTO said almost 50 per cent of the applicants are opting for the service. “Fifty per cent of the applicants have availed of the new service. It is despite the fact that no publicity campaign has been launched for the service,” Shinde said.
Ranjeet Chavan, an army jawan from the city who is posted in Pathankot, said he did not have a driving licence because the process would take longer than his annual vacation during which he used to visit home.
“I got to know about the new initiative at the RTO in Karad after I reached my hometown this time. I am on leave for a month. I grabbed the opportunity to get a temporary driving licence across the counter and now, I will apply for a permanent driving licence before joining duty,” he said.
Vaishali Sarkhaye, a resident of a village near Umbraj in Satara district, said the new system has come as a relief. “I have bought a new two-wheeler and I was surprised to get the RC (registration certificate) across the counter on the same day I applied for it. I had expected to get the RC after 15 days and thereafter use the vehicle. But I got it immediately,” she said.
A two-wheeler dealer, having four outlets in Satara district including one in Karad, Babanrao Shinde, said the registration of vehicles with the RTO used to take at least 10 days. “The service has eased our work as the registration of vehicles can be done on the same day, within minutes. The customer can be given the vehicle on the day of the purchase by completing the entire process of registration. Complaints of not receiving the RC through post will also be resolved through the new system,” he said.
The RTO in Karad was chosen for the pilot project as it had shown increased efficiency in the past one year.
The RTO achieved zero pendency on September 30 and since then, it has maintained the record of having no pendency. “The pilot project at Karad would be scaled up after assessing the performance, which has been good so far,” said Prasad Mahajan, the joint transport commissioner of the RTO.
The scaling up would cover other RTOs in the state having similar number of applications per day, he said.
The RTOs that have higher number of applications would be included in the scheme at a later point, after upgrading manpower and technical resources.