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NEPAL NEWS: Digital licences, blue books to be issued from 2015

Digital License Department of Transport Management

The government plans to issue electronic driving licence s and blue books for motor vehicles starting in 2015. The Department of Transport Management is preparing to select an international contractor to implement the project. Three firms, Madras Security Printers of India, Indra Sistemas SA of Spain and IRIS Corporation Berhad of Malaysia, have been shortlisted among the bidders as technically capable firms to undertake the project. The department has asked them to submit their financial proposals by July 17.

"We have asked the technically qualified firms to submit their financial proposals too after depositing a bid bond of US$ 46,000," said Sarad Adhikari, technical director at the department. He added that they planned to complete the evaluation of proposals by July to appoint a contractor and send its name to the Asian Development Bank (ADB) for its approval to sign an agreement. The ADB has provided the government a grant assistance of US $ 2.3 million to implement this programme as part of the ICT Development Project.

A total of 13 international and local firms had submitted technical proposals in response to the invitation for tenders issued in August last year. The department has been working to implement the hi-tech machine readable electronic driving licence s and blue books for the last three years. After the project is implemented, driving licence s and blue books will be changed into smartcards with all the vital information stored on them. The selected firm will get a 15-month period to install the hardware, develop the software, build the networks and train the staff to operate the system.

"If things go smoothly as per the government plan, the issuance of electronic driving licence s will start by early 2015," said an official at the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport. The project had originally been planned to be implemented by 2010. However, it was delayed due to an investigation launched by the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority in 2010 for possible irregularities. Government procedures also held up the project, said the department. The new provision based on smartcard technology is expected to help prevent counterfeiting of licence s, blue books and other vehicle related documents and keep electronic records of all the vehicle owners. There are over 1.5 million vehicles registered in the country.

The government has also been planning to replace the handwritten number plates being used at present for motor vehicles with modern embossed number plates. Recently, the department requested the Transport Ministry to form a committee to do a fresh study on embossed number plates to recommend ways of implementation, the colours to be used on them and the necessary amendments to the existing laws. The amended Transport Management Regulation 1997 has made embossed number plates mandatory, but the rule has not been enforced.

Source: The Kathmandu Post

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