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Prevalence of rampant corruption in issuing driving licences not only escalates the cost of the service but also increases the social and economic cost in the country. Considering that India already has the highest instances of road accidents in the world, there is an urgent need to introduce reforms.
The Ministry of Road transport and Highways is working with the state governments and civil societies to introduce several measures to improve the current situation. Efforts are being made to set up driver training schools and to generate awareness on road safety across the country. However, national and international reports continue to emphasise on the persistent corrupt practices in the process of issuing driving licences in India. According to a study conducted by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), between October 2004 and April 2005, 60 percent of the sample licence getters didn’t have to take the licence test and 54 percent of them were unqualified drivers.
Against this backdrop, the Transport Department of the government of Karnataka started the automated driving test track programme at the Jnanabharathi Regional Transport Office (RTO) in Bangalore. The state-of-the-art driving test track effectively uses easily replicable technology for competent and transparent service delivery. Leveraging multiple technologies, the entire process ensures accuracy and minimises human interaction, leaving no scope for manipulation. The rigorous test procedure also bars bad drivers seeking driving licences, allowing safer roads for the citizens.
The Transport Department is planning to replicate the automated driving test track soon in two other Regional Transport Offices in the state, one in Mysore and the other in Mangalore. Teams from Sri Lanka, United Kingdom and Netherlands have also visited the RTO in order to understand the working design of this automated track.