19 Dec 2017 15:28 IST

All you wanted to know about Vahan

It is the name of the national vehicle registry

No, this is not the name of the next satellite that India will launch into space. Nor is it one of those famous Modi acronyms for the country’s Automotive Mission Plan for the next decade. But it definitely has something to do with road transport.

What is it?

‘Vahan’ is the name of the national vehicle registry, which intends to collate all the information available with road transport authorities for easy access by both citizens and regulators. Data available with over 90 per cent of all road transport authorities including RTOs and district transport offices have been computerised so far. As a result, Vahan now contains about 21.68 crore vehicle records in its repository. Vahan allows access to all details related to vehicles such as registration number, chassis/engine number, body/fuel type, colour, manufacturer and model and provides various online services to citizens. Driving Licence and related data are automated through a separate application called ‘Sarathi’. The site is not fully operational yet, though some segments of it are up and running.

Why is it important?

Vahan has been designed to capture all the information mandated by the Central Motor Vehicle Act 1988 as well as State Motor Vehicle Rules. It has been customised to suit the varied requirements of all States and Union Territories. This way, the system ensures access to such information from anywhere. Besides, centralisation of data through the creation of the State and National Registries under Vahan also helps address the needs of RTOs, police and motor insurers.

The Police Department will also have access to the registry. The information available online can help in resolving crimes such as theft of vehicles and usage of fake registration numbers. Traffic-check points can cross-check the validity of the documents such as licences presented by motorists through hand-held devices. Enforcement activities such as issue of challan and settlement of penalty amount can also be carried out through Vahan. Banks, which may have given out loans for vehicle purchases, will also have access to the National/State Registry to track the status of vehicles under lien.

Lately, motor insurance companies have also been encouraged to upload data of insured vehicles on Vahan. When the process is completed, it will help in tracking vehicles that have not obtained an insurance cover or vehicles that have not renewed their covers.

Why should I care?

With Vahan, multiple visits to the RTO, extensive paperwork, queues, middlemen and bribes, all of which are today a part of package if you own a vehicle, will be a thing of the past. Vahan helps carry out most of the RTO related transactions including payments, online. For instance, to expedite the registration process, automobile dealers have been given a login where they can enter the required data for registration of new vehicles and obtain registration certificates. Other services such as transfer of ownership, change of address, issue and renewal of permits and fitness certificates are also available at the click of the mouse. The need for ‘No objection certificate’ for transfers will be eliminated since all RTOs will have access to the centralised data. There are also plans to develop mobile based applications for the various services.

The bottomline

Transferring your vehicle from one state to another or applying for a driving licence? Once Vahan and Sarathi are up and running, it’ll be a smoother ride.

(The article first appeared in The Hindu BusinessLine.)