Smart cards to replace driving licenses in Kerala

Aswathy Sreekumar

The State Motor Vehicles Department (MVD) will be
floating tenders in a week’s time for identifying a private sector firm for
implementing the smart card project on a Built Own Operate Transfer (BOOT) basis
for a period of five or 10 years.

Kerala will be the sixth state after Chandigarh,
Gujarat, Maharashtra, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh to initiate induction of
Information Technology in the road transport sector, according to K P Somarajan,
State Transport Commissioner. The driving licenses is to be issued as credit
card sized plastic card with a microprocessor capable of storing information in
electronic form with controlling access and facility for modification of

A smart card reader would be required to access
information from the card, which will have to be supplied in sufficient
quantities by the private company entering into the BOOT agreement with the
government. Smart cards will have the capacity to story 1 KB of data, which
stores only limited information. On the other hand, the certificates of
registration and permits require more information to be stored. Therefore it
will be issued in smart optical card format with an embedded computer chip of 4
KB capacity and an optical strip of 1.5 KB capacity.

At present, MVD is charging Rs 150 for the issue of
driving license and Rs 300-Rs 600 for certificate of registration for transport
vehicles. The cost of issue of smart cards and smart optical cards can well be
contained with in this limit with the kind of technology presently available,

Somarajan said, "Therefore, the induction of smart
cards need not impose additional financial burden on the vehicle user or
owner." In the BOOT system, all the equipments, services and infrastructure
will have to be provided by the successful private bidder and the system will be
transferred to the government after the expiry of the agreement.

The MVD had decided to allot the project on a BOOT
basis, as government is not in a position to raise funds on its own for
undertaking the project.

Kerala government has also decided to computerize the
backend operations of the MVD for which the software developed by National
Informatics Center (NIC) and field tested for the past two years would be
utilized free of charge.

The greatest benefits of smart cards are convenience,
portability, durability, security and ability to check forgery. Since the
microchip on a smart card is embedded in the card, tampering with the card
without destroying it is nearly impossible.


  1. This is one of the great move done by Kerala Govt. Couple of weeks back, i had to renew my car driving Licence. The RTO in Palakkad wondered me by showing how efficiently technology is implemented to automate all driving/RTO related services. Kudos guys..!

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