GUJARAT: Leveraging IT


Perceived as
the world’s largest smart card-based dri-ving license project with
biometrics, the Gujarat government has been a fore-runner in issuing
driving licenses on electronic chips. Under the project, each of the 22
RTOs of Gujarat are equipped with state-of-the-art driving license
enrolment and issuance centers. Each center has integrated facilities for
online capture of individual photographs, signatures and fingerprints
along with other identification details. The fingerprints are interpreted
for key features extracted and stored for identification purposes.

The first systems were installed
at Ahmedabad RTO, which handles almost about 30% of the state’s load. This was
followed by other major centers such as Surat, Rajkot, Vadodara and Bhavnagar.
Since then, systems have been set up in almost all district RTOs of Gujarat. The
systems can be networked locally under a local area network, as well as across
the state under a wide area network (WAN).

Currently, about 2,000 cards are
being issued per day, which is likely to double by the end of the year. It is
envisaged that about one million smart driving licenses will be issued annually,
covering transport and non-transport categories, for new licenses, endorsements,
renewals and duplicates.

During the next 24 months, it is
proposed that the existing six to eight million driving licenses will also be
converted into smart cards. The modalities for this operation are being worked
out. Thus by the end of 2003, about 10 million smart cards will be issued under
this project.

The project aims to bring down
the number of duplicate licenses and ensure a strict vigil on the offenders. For
example, traffic inspectors are provided with hand-held terminals using which
individual traffic offences are booked on the chip of the smart card. Such
records are also accumulated on the terminal and subsequently transferred to a
central database. After a particular number of offences, the license is
automatically struck off the record and the license made invalid. Also, since
the project uses biometrics, duplication of licenses will become a difficult
process. At the time of enrolment, the applicant’s fingerprints can be checked
against the existing database for possible masquerading or misidentification.
Subsequently, off-line verification of an individual’s identity is possible
using one to one matching against the chip itself, without referring to a
central database.

Gujarat also plans to introduce
smart cards for vehicles serving the purpose of an RC Book. For certain class of
vehicles, its use will be extended to fitness
certificates, permits and payment receipts. Also, a pre-paid system is likely to
be introduced for the state entry tax payments at the state border check-posts
to be linked to electronic weigh-bridges.

State-wide WAN

The
government of Gujarat has planned to implement a statewide WAN project which
will connect the various office complexes of the Government of Gujarat. It will
be set up in Gandhinagar including the Secretariat complex and the state-owned
building of the Corporation, in the vicinity. It aims to support various
services like voice, data and video traffic. Also with the WAN, the government
will implement a complete video conferencing system. The whole project will use
the backdrop of optical fiber cable to connect the various offices. In addition
to the above, the backbone network will also be extended to STPI, Info City, DSP’s
office, boards and corporations to provide telecom facilities as and when
required in future. The backbone network will cater to data communication
facility at the locations providing telephone service. It will provide cabling
for inter connectivity to any LAN established by the state government covering
its offices. The LANs will be block-wise or floor-wise and are required to be
connected through backbone network to cater to the needs of email or
internet or intranet. LANs may also have to be integrated into WAN through the
network as per need.

E-governance
Projects

  • Smartcard Project:
    22 RTOs of Gujarat equipped with state-of-the-art driving license
    enrolment and issuance centers.
  • State-Wide
    Wan:
    To connect the various office
    complexes of the Government of Gujarat.
  • Disaster
    Management System:
    To maintain
    communications during natural disasters.

Disaster management system

Gujarat is prone to
disasters like cyclones and floods and the availability of communication links
is of vital importance, especially because other infrastructure like railways,
roads, bridges and power are seriously affected. A communication system, which
would remain unaffected during emergency situations is to be designed to cover
all district headquarters, which should be integrated with the proposed network
at Gandhinagar. INMARSAT-like technology which was designed to provide service
to ships in sea has now been extended to land use and is one of the options
suited for this purpose. The technology is economical as compared to VSAT and
provides good quality voice communication. 

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