Sunday, February 15, 2015

A letter to AP Chief minister on RTA procedures

3 Feb
Dear sir,

Rides by RTA officers on vehicles on roads will certainly yield results and revenue to government by way of fines.
To improve revenue to the government,  you can conduct RTA melas for renewals of licenses, fitness certificates, renewal of registrations on every Saturday in RTA unit offices for any vehicle registered anywhere in the state. Even you can think of RTA on wheels ( that is a van or minibus) with all Database of the state vehicles and licenses to visit mandal headquarters with the essential staff for the above purposes. Strictly not for new licenses and fresh registrations, of course. A beginning can be made and see the trend of success.

While I was going through the audit reports of, it was noticed that thousands of transport and non- transport vehicles are running on the roads without fitness certificates as per the reports. Noticing the exponent growth of vehicles year by year in the state and small number of officials of Transport Department is just in adequate to execute their duties. The people's attitude of let us see when caught and also the present rules of MV Act to visit  only the office where the vehicle was originally registered making it cumbersome for the owners if the vehicle is away from such office and running somewhere in the state.

As every one of us believe that only IT systems can give solutions to many of our problems, I have thought of a Single Database System for Transport Department. I am copying a below a mail which I have already sent to Transport commissioner of AP Government. Please go through the mail and give a thought to the SINGLE DATABASE SYSTEM. This can be applied for renewal of Driving licenses too. The revenue collection will also go up many fold with less cost of collection.

I give below first the audited points and solutions next to them which you can think and give a trial.

Notes from an audit reports of
We (the auditors) noticed (between August 2010 and February 2012) during the test check of the records and an analysis of the data of offices of JTC, Hyderabad, 12DTCs and 21 RTOs that fitness certificates in respect of 3,23,878 transport vehicles, whose status was ‘active’ as per the Citizen’s Friendly Services in Transport Department (CFST) system database and that had completed two years of life during 2009-10 and 2010-11, had not been renewed.  This jeopardized public safety, besides non-realization of fitness certificate fee of 9.94 crore.  
30 DTCs/RTOs stated (between August 2010 and July 2012 in respect of 2,18,622 vehicles) that the fitness fee cannot be collected until and unless the owners of the vehicles approach the office for the purpose of renewal of fitness certificate.  
The Department’s contentions are not tenable as under section 56 of the MV Act, it is mandatory to renew the FC.  Further, Rule 62 of the CMV Rules prescribes that FC in respect of transport vehicles shall be renewed every year. Further, audit observed that the status of these vehicles was ‘active’ on the CFST system and the owners were paying taxes regularly.  The presumption that vehicles without fitness certificates would be invariably caught by enforcement authorities and vehicles not so detected were not plying on the road is invalid.  Thus, the failure of the Department to ensure checking of fitness of these ‘active’ vehicles led to non-realisation of fitness fee.  Absence of an inbuilt mechanism in the CFST package for compliance viz., to give alerts every time the vehicle owner approaches the office/e-seva etc., for any transaction, namely issue/renewal of permits, payment of quarterly tax etc., led to non-renewal of fitness of the vehicle, resulting in loss of fitness fee.  The matter was referred to the Department in July 2011 and to the Government in June 2012; their reply has not been received (January 2013).
The Department needs to improve its internal control system so that weaknesses in the system are addressed and omissions of the nature detected by us are avoided in future.
Further, action to expedite recovery in cases of non-realisation, non levy/short levy of quarterly taxes and penalties brought out through audit observations may also be taken. With regard to payment of life tax on non transport vehicles, we recommend that the Government may take necessary steps to update the Citizen Friendly Services in Transport department (CFST) package so as to ensure levy of Life tax on second/subsequent non transport vehicles as well as those owned by companies, institutions, societies and organizations at applicable rates and minimize scope for non/ short levy of tax.
With regard to audit observation on ‘non-levy of green tax’, we recommend that Government may consider putting in place a proper monitoring mechanism as part of CFST package to raise alerts for demanding green tax on completion of 14 years 10 months in accordance with provisions of Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989. Further, they may also introduce necessary mechanism to update the demand of green tax when payments are made at places other than office counters like APonline, e-seva etc.

My suggestions for the problem:
While reading the above facts, it is felt that it is really difficult for the existing staff of Transport Department to keep a track of the vehicles in records and in physical presence of them on the roads too.
The following procedure can be designed to maximize the collection of taxes and track of the vehicles.
1. The entire state has to be considered as a single unit. That is, after first registration of the vehicle, the details would go to a central data base which can be operated by any RTO office in the state. Let us call the first time registrations of vehicles and issue of Driving Licences as Primary functions of the Particular RTA.
2. The above change makes any owner of the existing and already registered vehicle to approach any unit office of the transport department within the state and apply for necessary documents. He can take his vehicle for the inspection to any unit office of the department for physical inspection too.
3. As the vehicles with a certificate of registration obtained from one unit office are permitted to move across the state freely, the vehicles normally leave the jurisdiction of the particular unit after a second sale of the vehicle by the original owner or the owner shifting to a different place in the state on a transfer or for any other reason. Especially old vehicles reach villages and small towns and avoid detection by officials.
4. The cumbersome procedure of visiting the unit office where the vehicle was originally registered for obtaining documents such as fitness certificate, no objection certificate etc., and physical inspection of the vehicle makes the owner to take it easy or let us see when caught attitude are perhaps the reasons for not visiting the unit offices (where originally the vehicle is registered).
5. When the new method of central database system of any vehicle  any office is implemented, THE OWNERS ARE AT LIBERTY TO GO TO NEAREST OFFICE OF THE DEPARTMENT IN THE STATE and there would be more voluntary approaching the offices by the owners (as ANY VEHICLE ANY OFFICE system is implemented) and the attitude of vehicle owners may change.
6. Now from the side of the departments, what are the problems arise?
As it is a central database of the department, the procedures remain unchanged. Any officer can check and update the data of already registered vehicles only. The domain of new vehicles remains unchanged with respective offices.
Meanwhile, the department can prepare and make a list of vehicles which are due to fitness test and pending taxes in the website. Anybody can check and prepare to pay, if necessity arises.
In this exercise,  the M.V.act is not trespassed at all as the state commissioner controls the records within the state.
Similar to Passport Seva Kendras, Transport Seva Kendras can be operated.

With regards,
Arcot Bapuji
9000 655 956

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