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Automation, Smart Cards and RTOs

There has been a lot of talk going on about Smart Cards replacing the Book system for Driving License and Vehicle registration books. Which should imply that the system has been computerized or automatized, reducing the response time from the RTO end. Tat’s all just for the telling. They still have loads of manual processes, loads of legacy files stacked, but one can see desktops with TFTs monitors and the operators doing the data entry jobs. Today I had to wait for almost 12 hours before I could get the Speed post tracking number for the Smart card they had sent to the postal address. How did they finally get the number? The person concerned got huge set of files- may be around 15, got a register and did a lookup operation in the register to find out the corresponding Speed post file for the given Vehicle registration number. Then he scrambled with those files before writing down the Tracking Number on a piece of paper. It doesn’t end there – They arent in a position to tell where the envelope, containing the smart card, is- Is it with them or with the Post office. So I had to run to the post office, where they took just minutes to tell me that the the envelope is returned to the sender- thanks to their tracking application. Now RTO wants the proof that its with them- can u believe that- they dont keep a track of the inventory they have. What’s the automation system doing there? And moreover to search if the Smart card is with the RTO they have a Notepad, which is in a very bad condition due to constant lookup, where they write down the registration numbers of vehicle’s whose smart cards they have. Isnt it archaic?

Now, they dont have a fixed time frame with in which they dispatch the cards. I heard that for few they take a month, for others they take 3 months and so on. How the heck will a person know when the card was dispatched or when he is going to receive it so that one can make some arrangements such that there’s someone to receive the Post. The software developers could have easily integrated a Notification system where in they send an SMS | EMail to the concerned person stating the Speed Post tracking number and date of dispatch. This will also eliminate people rushing towards the RTO offices asking for the tracking numbers and also reduce the number of incidents involving delayed receipt, misplace of the card and so on. Citing few examples from today’s observation- A person had not yet received his Vehicle registration card even after waiting for 6 months. I agree that its also his fault but people tend to take it lightly unless there’s something severe coming up. So keeping people posted with such notifications will help in reducing such incidents in large way.

Unrelated: The other day I was impressed by the changes in the Passport issuing system. They have made it more stringent, more automated. Did they take the photocopies I had taken along with me? No they wanted them just to scan it into their computers. Though the time spent to get a passport has increased, they have made the system fool proof.  And yeah they were using an Application developed by TCS. Some tech gyaan- it was done in Flex 🙂

Summing up:

Note: These are my views based on my personal experience today regarding the Smart card system and all being introduced in RTOs. Feel free to comment/correct. Also do add to the list. 😛

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