Microchip-based Smartcards for vehicles across Tamil Nadu

Microchip-based Smartcards for vehicles across Tamil Nadu

Motorists across Tamil Nadu will soon be rid of cumbersome rafts of vehicle documents. A microchip-based smartcard to replace the standard driving licence in November will also serve as the vehicle registration certificate ‘RC book’ and proof of tax and insurance payments.

The smartcard, the size of a credit card, will also contain previous ownership, traffic offence history and other vehicle data. Private firms selected through a government tender — and not the Electronics Corporation of Tamil Nadu (Elcot), which now issues driving licences — will supply the smartcards at all 145 regional transport offices and transport department unit offices.

The smartcard’s microchip will contain a list of a vehicle’s previous owners, pending tax and insurance payments, offences for which the authorities have booked the vehicle in the past, hypothecation (if applicable) and basic details including name, date of birth, and address of the current vehicle owner. The government has procured, for enforcement authorities, around 350 handheld smartcard-scanning devices that can be hooked up to the internet. The Chennai traffic police have separately floated tenders to procure 300 handheld devices.

When a police officer swipes the smartcard through the device, all data pertaining to the vehicle will appear on its screen, including records of the vehicle and motorist such as the licence status, licence suspensions and blockings for traffic rule violations and offences leading to accidents. If the device shows that a traffic rule violator’s licence status is inactive, the person’s name will be moved to a repeat offender list, attracting more serious punishment.

The smartcard will contain security strips that restrict deletion of data. Details like name, address and ownership details can be modified on request by paying a fee at a local RTO.

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