The disgusting Road Transport (terrorist) Office

Posted on February 23, 2012


The Road Transport Offices (RTO)  of India (equivalent of DMV in US) are the biggest if not the most corrupt bodies in India. Nothing more terrifies me than visiting a RTO or a passport office in India. If we look at the baseless numbers thrown by media for telecom and CWG scam running into lakhs of crores, they will look like mere peanuts against the corruption money these RTO offices have earned till now.

If we sample just one of their revenue streams : Driving license , then we can see for the past twenty years or so, out of a population of 120 crore Indians some sixty crore (including dead and new borns) must have applied for new, renewal, two-wheeler, four wheeler etc etc. If we take inflation into consideration and average bribe of 500 (current rates are running into thousands) must have been paid by at least 90 % of the people, we are looking at least at an amount of 25000 crore. Mind you this is just from one revenue stream . Then there are others car registration, transport approvals, accidents, traffic management etc etc. I know these numbers are very ad-hoc but my frustration is rising at every opportunity I have to interact with this sick organization.

I am basically a Pune resident who is now residing in Delhi and returned to India after working overseas. I did not have a car driving license before I left, so decided to apply for one now. I had gone through the initial struggles in my early years for getting bike license and it was traumatizing. But the real pathetic part of license application now was none of the authorized documents I have qualify as a valid address proof. I am staying in a rental apartment in Delhi so I have a rental agreement which is registered in the court of law but for some reason this does not qualify as  valid address proof. Unfortunately in India you cannot have electricity connections transferred in your name from the landlord so you don’t have that as an address proof. And getting a landline telephone connection is another story altogether. If I am a permanent resident of Pune my voter-Id card and ration card are associated with my home city in Pune, so again cant use them as address proof. So basically this restricts you of not being applicable of applying license anywhere else other than your home city. This is ridiculous right !! The only other option left with me is opening a bank account in a government owned bank and wait for their passbook as an address proof (not even a bank statement , only pass book). Try for once opening an account in a government bank and you will start thinking , why I am in this hellhole . In US I was able to use my rental agreement in 3 cities and I was able to get the license just fine. They create such convoluted rules so that a bribe is inevitable. I was told point blank by the driving school agent that the address requirement can be bypassed if I am willing !! WOW!!!

Getting the documents ready is just the first part of the battle, then we have the written exam and after a month the driving test. Everybody knows if you go through a reputed driving school the test is a mere formality even if you can’t change a gear (why do we have manual gears in India still beats me).

Once you have a license and if you are caught on the road during a routine checkup , they will make sure you get a fine ( I meant bribe) even if it is not your fault . They will try to find a fault with your driving skill or license or car papers or pollution certificate or insurance or even color of your number plate. If you ask for ticket then you have done the unthinkable. You have pissed the cop off. He will make sure getting the fine paid will be the most difficult adventure of your life.

I mean if we look at the deaths due to road accidents that happened , it will be appropriate to blame the RTO for its negligence while maintaining the traffic as well as certifying the non-drivers through bribe . With this kind of manslaughter and corruption aren’t they equivalent of a terrorist organization???

One solution to this at least making some services online or through banks/post offices like

1) Appointments
2) license renewals
3) Car registrations
4) fine payments

As long as I don’t have to see the faces of these sickos , I would be happy. I am waiting for my bank passbook and then I will have to go through the routine hell .