Smart cards to replace driving licenses in Kerala

DQW Bureau
03 Apr 2001
New Update

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.