Smart card use in transportation
Smart card-based DLs and RCs
Smart card-based driving licenses and registration certificates
are being issued at all zonal transport authorities in Delhi. By Manjari
Government of India (GoI) has issued guidelines for the introduction of smart
card-based Driving Licenses (DL) and e-governance facilities in various functions
of the transport departments in all states of India. Gujarat was the first state
in India to implement a smart card-based drivers license. The smart card
DL contains an embedded chip that stores the cardholders fingerprint,
digital signature and personal information.
Government National Capital Territory of Delhi (NCT) decided to provide high
quality services for issuing smart card-based DLs in all Zonal Transport Authorities
(ZTA) in Delhi. The Government of NCT Delhi said that this would help eliminate
malpractices and ensure a robust, efficient and reliable system. In Delhi, approximately
500,000 licenses are issued every year.
The smart card-based DL has a computerized photograph, fingerprint impression,
signature of the applicant and other data making it impossible to issue a driving
license to a person without that person turning up at the ZTA. The system is
designed in such a manner that the fingerprint for one-to-one matching and other
details of the license holder are used as key fields for verifying the particulars
of the license holder. This prevents the issue of duplicate and fraudulent DLs.
Smart card issuance stations allow the entire process to be completed in one
trip. The issuance stations consist of smart card personalization equipment
(including a PC, smart card printer, video camera, fingerprint capture device
and a signature tablet), as well as customized software.
R.K. Verma, Transport Commissioner, Delhi, said, The
idea of a smart card-based DL was to e-enable the entire process of issuing
DLs. Keeping the data history regarding issuance, for example, if any penalty
has been imposed on the driver, can be written and rewritten easily with smart
cards. We do not have to refer to the main database every time. The basic data
is written on the chip. Details regarding any challan, endorsement or other
information like who is the person, his fingerprints and his photograph etc.
can be easily found in a digital formatso it becomes much easier to compare.
Basically, it serves a dual purpose. It is easier to handle data and helps in
better regulation. The DL would be delivered through speed post at the address
of the applicant to ensure transparency and eliminate malpractices and touts.
For applying for a smart card-based DL, the applicant has to submit the fees
for which he receives a receipt. The officer in charge will capture the applicants
personal details such as name, age, address, fingerprint, signature and his
or her photograph. Then the inspector or MLO approves the DL and transfer of
the data on to a smart card chip.
Smart Card DLs are produced under high security standards that help prevent
identity fraud. The information on the chip is stored safely in a tamperproof
manner. When smart cards are presented for identification purposes, the individuals
fingerprint is compared against the fingerprint in the card on a one-to-one
basis improving the identification process.
Only an authorized person in the transport department with an assigned login
and password will be able to access this data and make additions to the same.
Smart card-based RC book
The transport department is also issuing vehicle registered certificate (RC)
on a smart card. In addition to the 4 KB chip, there is also optical memory
with a capacity of 64 MB. This memory will contain all the scanned documents
of the registration file, thereby dispensing with the manual records maintained
for every vehicle that comes under the transport departments jurisdiction.
The registration file is returned to the owner of the vehicle.
Along with the registration record, the record of payment of road tax, traffic
offenses, permit details & fees, biometrics of security functions like fingerprints,
photographs of the registered owner, digital signatures etc. are stored in optical
memory with WORM (Write Once Read Many) capability, which leaves no possibility
of manipulation of the data by RTOs or any other person. Data can only be added
but cannot be deleted.
In Delhi, it is also possible to get a driving license issued
from any of the 13 RTOs, irrespective of where the person stays in the capital.
To bring down levels of corruption, all RTOs and the transport department unit
at Burari are being interlinked and all records transferred to a central server.
Interlinked RTOs would free the applicants from the current
restriction of having to go to only the transport office which serves their
area of residence. Though license-seekers are free to apply at any RTO, they
will need to complete all formalities such as the driving test for learners
license, payment of fees, final road test for permanent license and the printing
of the smart card at the same RTO. Details of new licenses are uploaded into
the centralized database.
The department has also created a centralized pool of information so that all
records of present license holders can be accessed by officials from any RTO.
To get the new facility rolling, the transport department is now in the final
stages of linking the existing databases of all the 13 RTOs and the Burari unit.
Uniform smart driving license cards will soon come in a uniform format across
the country. The National Informatics Centre (NIC) is working on developing
this card and all states have been directed to implement it in a time-bound
The states have also agreed to the concept of issuing a single national permit
for commercial vehicles and a ministerial group has been set-up for apportioning
the fees among the states.
For ensuring seamless travel, the states have agreed to do
away with the present system of barriers and set-up an integrated check post
which will take care of all kinds of taxes to be levied only at the entry point
of the concerned state.
- 256 bytes to 4 KB RAM
- 8 KB to 32 KB ROM
- 1 KB to 32 KB EEPROM
- Crypto-coprocessors (implementing 3DES,
in hardware) are optional
- 8-bit to 16-bit CPU. 8051 based designs
- Microprocessor: IC Chip (Integrated
Circuit Gold Plated embedded in plastic Card), 4 KB RAM
- Compliant of: ISO/IEC 7816-1,2,3,6
- Transport Protocol:
SCOSTA V 1.2b (SCOSTA - Smart card Operating System for Transport Application,
the software prepared by NIC & Ministry of Road Transport and Highways)
- EEPROM (Electrically Erasable Programmable
Read Only Memory): T=O, T=l
- Glossy, PVC or ABS Plastic with 3,00,000
SCOSTA is a key software in RTOs
There have been previous attempts to introduce smart card-based DLs by a few
RTOs. They faced problems in its enforcement, as different districts could not
equip their enforcement team with smart card readers and system applications
were also found to be different in other states. To address this, the Ministry
of Road Transport and Highways, in consultation with the National Informatics
Centre (NIC), State/UT Governments and smart card industry, developed standardized
software called Smart Card Operating System for Transport Application (SCOSTA).
This software has been incorporated in Central Motor Vehicle Rules. The software
has been made available to states and UTs free of cost. It covers both the back-end
automation of RTOs and front-end computerization to enable issue of smart card-based
DL and registration certificates for transport vehicles.
Under an MOU, NIC has been remitted to oversee smooth implementation.
The symmetric key infrastructure for both smart card-based DLs and RCs has been
established at the central level. Many states are getting their registration
records converted into SCOSTA format that is called SCOSTA VAHAN. The same software
will uniformly be made available throughout India in a single format.
Currently, states such as Gujarat, Delhi, Chandigarh and Karnataka have started
to provide smart card DLs and RCs.
The other part of SCOSTA for driving licenses is called SARATHI. This system
will have the DL record on common software to be used by RTOs in different states.
This will also help in making a national record for Indian drivers. The RTOs
is not required to keep voluminous records of driver renewals, endorsement,
suspension or offenses. This will also help to dispose of accident insurance
cases. The traffic police can enter the offense details in smart cards on the
road itself. The police can also know whether the driver is a regular offender
The project was initiated in mid 2009 and has been since been successfully implemented
in all Zonal Transport Authorities in Delhi. Since then over five lakh smart
card-based DLs have been issued. This new system has resulted in the computerization
of the complete DL issue process, thereby minimizing human interference, ensured
transparent processes, reduced the waiting time for DLs and RCs and sped up
the delivery process. The response of applicants to these high quality driving
licenses has been positive.
Verma said, The objective of introducing smart card-based
DLs and RCs was to change the entire system from manual to electronic format,
ensuring paperless administration. Biometric authentication reduces the possibility
of multiple cards or duplicity and it is tamperproof. The problem of proof of
residence can be solved, as the card will need to be personalized by the cardholder
and will be delivered at his or her residencewhich, in a way, helps in
address verification. All the databases and records are maintained through the
card. Updating of records is also done through the card which leads to transparent
The last phase of integration is on and the smart card readers are being procured.
We will soon be introducing 30 enforcement vehicles and tying up with
the police by providing them with the readers to decode data. We also planning
to share our database with other services that we provide and, in another year,
we are hopeful that whole thing would have been stabilized, said Verma.
The transport department took a decision to dispatch smart card-based DLs through
speed post instead of delivering them manually across the counter. Security
concerns called for physical verification of the applicants address.
This process is convenient for the applicants. They dont have to wait
as DLs are delivered at home. It also does away with the nuisance of touts and
other middlemen who seek tips. Applicants do not need to revisit transport department
to collect their DL or RCs.
The number of touts has decreased drastically with our drive to send DL
through speed post. Around two percent of the DLs come back on the basis that
this person does not live here and we are flagging such people in our database
with their biometrics. We are now in a better position to manage the database,
especially the regulation part. Duplicate licenses would be difficult to issue
and will not fall into the wrong hands, said Verma
The NCT government has entered into a contract for a period of ten years with
the Delhi Multi-Modal Transit System (DIMTS) for the smart card-based DLs. DIMTS
is responsibility for designing, developing, installing, operating, maintaining
and managing the DL issue system in Delhi.
DIMTS took the responsibility of project conceptualization and structuring,
software development, technical specification, integration with the VAHAN database,
procurement of services, project commissioning and execution.
Talking of whats on the anvil, Verma said, We want to link smart
card-based DLs with other services that we offer in other departments. For example,
if a licensee owns a vehicle we can link it to his RC. We want to combine all
these things and create a single customer profile.