Current Affairs – June, 2019

Government to launch Universal Smart Card Driving License

Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) has decided to modify the format of driving licenses to smart card type driving licences so as to follow a standardised format nationwide.

Key Highlights

Nitin Gadkari, Road Transport and Highways Minister in a written reply in Rajya Sabha, notified that MoRTH has prescribed a common standard format and design of Driving Licence for Pan India.

Need: Around 30% of Indians drive with fake or bogus licenses. Police reports in just of Delhi NCR region suggests that, cases of underage driving have jumped to 589% and in 1st 15 days of January 2019, 61 unpermitted juvenile cases were registered and issued with challans. A report from Nissan India and road safety NGO SaveLIFE Foundation highlighted worrying part of underage driving. Thus, ministry’s move to this new format is expected to help curb this situation to some extent.

Proposed Changes: MoRTH seeks to modify current format of driving licenses to laminated card without chip or smart card type driving licences and which will include nationwide standardised format of placement of information, standardization of fonts etc.

For this purpose, RTOs (Regional Transport Offices) should issue a uniform format of driving licenses across nation using a universal smart card driving license format.

Implementation: The desired changes to Pan India Licence format will be implemented through MoRTH’s flagship application called SARATHI (for Driving License).

About SARATHI

The application is developed by NIC (National Informatics Centre).

It has a common countrywide database of all driving license holders, with almost 15 crore driving license records being available in its central repository, which is a part of National Registry.

No Duplication: SARATHI has a unique feature to identify duplicate records in real time online basis and can also access information about challans if any, this then facilitates licencing authority that offender drivers do not get a duplicate driving licence.

100 Most Influential Women’ in UK Power List

Nirmala Sitharaman, Union Minister of Finance and Minister of Corporate Affairs was named in 100 Most Influential in UK-India Relations: Celebrating Women list. Besides Sitharaman, list included Penny Mordaunt, Britain’s Secretary of State for Defence and Ruchi Ghanashyam, Indian High Commissioner to the UK.

About The List

The ‘100 Most Influential in UK-India Relations: Celebrating Women’ list was launched by Sajid Javid, UK Home Secretary to mark India Day in Houses of Parliament in London. This is the 3rd year of list.

The launch of list also marked commencing of UK-India Week in Britain. The course of week will include a series of sessions on trade and investment and closer cooperation between two nations.

The women mentioned in list holds influencing positions in India and UK across 11 broad sectors such as politics, technology and sustainability.

Nirmala Sitharaman: The list called her as one of India’s most powerful women and credited her for playing a pivotal role in bilateral relationship. Having studied at London School of Economics (LSE) and worked in UK she is familiar with UK more so than probably all her other colleagues.

Oher Prominent Names in List: Priti Patel and Baroness Sandy Verma (Indian-origin parliamentarians in the UK), Gurinder Chadha (filmmaker), Zia Mody and Pallavi S Shroff (Indian law firm chiefs), Suneeta Reddy (Apollo Hospitals’ managing director) and Debjani Ghosh (Nasscom President).

Significance:

The list is recognition of front and centre role played by women in bilateral relationship. It acknowledges that from business to politics, and art and literacy, women are continuing to make their way in bringing together this bold startegic partnership via collaboration and relationships.

It highlights huge potential for bilateral future (of UK and India) as they continue to forge on together as two great countries.