Government has a great initiative for car owners, but chinks need fixing

Posted on by KNBT

NEW DELHI: If you are one of those who always fear losing original copies of car documents, and would rather have them tucked away safely at home, the government has a solution to your phobia.

In yet another push towards a ‘Digital India’, the road transport ministry has asked traffic policemen to not insist on drivers producing physical car documents such as driving license, RC (registration certificate), and insurance papers for verification, and to accept electronic versions authenticated through government developed apps like DigiLocker and mParivahan.

When asked if this move by the government is a shot in the arm, and a much needed filip, for initiatives such as DigiLocker, the platform’s chief architect Amit Ranjan remarked, “That’s absolutely correct!” Launched in July 2015 as a platform for issuance and verification of documents and certificates digitally, DigiLocker currently has 1.3 crore registered users, with a count of about 1.8 crore uploaded documents.

Developed under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, it is a centralised online repository on the cloud, where you can verify and store all important documents.

So, how do you go about shunning the hard copies of your car documents and have them available at the tap of a screen on your mobile phone?

Here are the steps you can follow to save a verified digital version of your car documents:

1) Download the DigiLocker app from Google Play Store or Apple’s App Store and sign up using your mobile number.

2) Create a username and password and then link your 12-digit Aadhaar number to DigiLocker.

3) Search for ‘Issued Documents’ and select from driving licence or registration certificate.

4) Enter the required details such as chassis number, registration number/ licence number etc., after which a permanent link to the registration certificate/ driving licence is saved in ‘Issued Documents’. You can either click on mobile view or save a PDF.

You can follow a similar procedure to access/ upload your documents to DigiLocker from its desktop site.

All this is subject to the status of the apps in question, i.e if the apps are up and running — which wasn’t the case at least until Friday afternoon when we last checked. Every time we tried to sign up, it threw up an error, regardless of which and how many mobile phones were used.

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Even the mParivahan app (currently available only on Android) which has been developed by the transport ministry refused to work.

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“It seems there is some temporary issue, however, desktop (version) is working fine. We are working on the problem and should fix it soon,” Ranjan told TOI.

We checked Ranjan’s claim of the desktop version working, and it checked out. However, it’s imperative that it work on the mobile app, as that’s what one would use to show their digital car documents if asked for verification on the road. Ranjan believes the app should be up again “soon”.

While this seems to be a great initiative on part of the government, loopholes need to be plugged for a smooth experience and to invite more users.

In the meantime, the transport ministry has stated that the digital records available on DigiLocker or mParivahan are deemed to be legally recognised at par with original documents as per provisions of the IT Act, 2000. The documents available in the “electronic form” are valid under the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 and must be treated on a par with the certificates issued by the transport authorities, it added.

Further to this, traffic police can now record violations relating to drivers and vehicles by logging on to a central database using their handheld devices or mobile phones to read the QR code of the electronic documents, instead of seizing originals.

According to an advisory from the road transport ministry, offences of drivers or vehicles are reflected in the ‘Vahan’ and ‘Sarathi’ databases electronically through the eChallan system and “there is no requirement of a physical seizure of such documents”.


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