Vahan, Sarathi ease the ride

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  • Published 13.10.08

Ranchi, Oct. 13: The introduction of two new software packages, appropriately titled Vahan and Sarathi, at 15 of the 18 district transport offices (DTO) here has made life easier for those who own cars.

While smart cards have replaced the traditional RC book, single windows have been set up for all kinds of cash transactions, be it tax payments, fees or fines. And, the results are showing: in the past seven months, Ranchi DTO alone has issued more than 1 lakh smart cards.

The new measures, already in vogue in the metros, are a marked improvement from the days when registration of vehicles was a cumbersome process often leading to unwanted duplications. And when driving licences were issued manually, leaving open possibilities of errors.

At the centre of this achievement is the National Informatics Centre (NIC), Jharkhand, that developed the software packages. Shahid Ahmed, the NIC senior technical director, said: “After the computerisation of the department there is a visible improvement in the quality of services being offered to the citizen. Before computerisation, there were counters for scrutiny of documents, payment of fees, payment of taxes etc.”

As expected, things are faster now. District transport officer A.K. Banka is happy to report that his collections — from fee books, driving licences, (vehicle) fitness fees etc — have gone up. “We have already achieved 50 per cent of our target collection of Rs 200 crore,” he said.

Ahmed said Vahan was an application programme for managing information pertaining to a vehicle such as registration details, change of address, issue of NOC and transfer of ownership.

On the other hand, Sarathi helped DTOs issue driving licences. “It manages activities like issuing new licences, renewing old ones and change of address,” he said. Vahan has so far helped 15 DOTs issue smart cards. The remaining three would be made operational soon. A smart card has a security mechanism in its chip to prevent unauthorised duplication and overwriting. “So, it is easy for an owner to verify his vehicle if it is involved in a theft case. Also, in case a person intends to buy a second-hand vehicle, he can verify details,” Ahmed said.

These applications, like all e-governance initiatives, are secure and user-friendly. For instance, Sarathi has simplified the process of issuing driving licences and uses modern, state-of-the-art technology to photograph, finger-print and capture the signature of the licence holder.

The use of the software packages has also helped in conducting online cash transactions, making it redundant for customers to visit banks to deposit fees.

It has also helped the transport department keep tabs on tax defaulters easily — a ready list is available at the click of a mouse.