Driving Licenses and RC Smart Cards to get QR Codes and Near Field Communication(NFC) Technology: Uniform Format for India!


In a move to standardise vehicle documents the Union Government has announced that there will be a common format for Smart Card for Driving Licenses and Vehicle Registration Certificates (RCs) across all states and Union Territories. The move hopes to create a digital repository that will help combat forgery and duplication of the documents according to officials in the government. While some states are already printing Driving Licenses on Smart Cards with embedded Microchips, there are many RTOs in India that still rely on the paper booklet formats which makes unifying the databases an uphill task.

According to the new format,  Licenses issued will have provisions for a microchip, Quick Response (QR) code and Near Field Communication (NFC) technology like the ones used by ATM cards, according to the government, which has made amendments to the CMV Rules of 1989 to include these new changes.  In fact, the government has notified to all Regional Transport Offices to stop the issuing of paper booklets, allowing only 2 specific materials for their manufacture. Included on the list is PolyVinyl Chloride or PVC, or PolyCarbonate which is slightly more expensive but more durable. However, the centre has left the choice of material to the states.

This will also bring unification in linking and validating one’s information to smart cards with Sarathi and Vahan, the two web-based databases of all driving licences and vehicle registrations. Both Databases are currently operating through 28 states and Union Territories across the country. The Sarathi application has a feature that can identify duplicate DLs. When a duplicate licence shows up on the system, those monitoring it can re-check all other documents related to the account and take action that could include such as cancellation or clubbing duplicate licences. However, it is not clear at this point when these new classifications will come into effect.

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