Comment Pieces

Making Bangalore RTOs bribe free: Step 1

Posted on February 01, 2011

I Paid a Bribe entered its second phase of engagement in tackling corruption with the Transport department Janamahiti (information for the people) Report. It identifies problem areas within the department, based on the analysis of bribe reports received on the website. It also discusses the processes which are prone to corruption and the recommendations made by IPAB to wipe out corruption from the system. It’s a free download on the site in English and Kannada On 18 Jan 2011, we met the officials from the Transport Department at KSRTC Head office, Shanthi Nagar to discuss the findings of Janamahiti. The meeting was presided over by the Principal Secretary of Transport, Mr. Shankaralinge Gowda, the Transport Commissioner, Mr. Bhaskar Rao, and was attended by around 60 officials from RTOs across the state. Mr. Gaurav Gupta, Managing Director of KSRTC was also present. IPAB coordinator, Mr. Raghunandan Thoniparambil, began the presentation with Janaagraha and IPAB’s goals. For us, the onus of the presentation was on the findings of the Janamahiti Report and IPAB’s recommendations to make the Transport Department Corruption-free. In the question hour that followed the presentation, the officials were responsive and discussed the recommendations in the right spirit with a keenness to improve. Ten Commandments, the IPAB poster highlighting ten rules that citizens could follow to resist paying a bribe in a government office, was discussed in detail. Likewise, Raghu also compared the transport department website to other similar websites abroad on lines of visual aspect, interactivity, navigation and content. The presentation also included an interesting discussion on the WHO Report on Road Safety 2009. It brought up the lack of child restraint laws in India and our low rank on seatbelt and helmet safety. These are the recommendations that we projected in our Janamahiti Report (Pg 25-28): Getting the anti-corruption message across • Citizens’ charter • Pamphlets with workflows Streamlining processes • Single window system • Customers can be enabled to submit forms in advance, online • Automatic cash payment machines can be installed in the RTO premises to speed up the process of payment of fees in cash. Replacement of manual driving tests with simulator tests • Improving responsiveness and transparency • Helpline with support system for queries • Constituting a ‘Friends of RTO’ team Medium term reforms • Remove the Area specific nature of RTO’s offices • Outsourcing the process of vehicle inspection The Project Implementation Memorandum 2007 published in the Transport website speaks about linking of RTO databases across the state for easier and quicker processes. When asked about this, the participants of the meeting confirmed that Vahana (for vehicle registration) and Saarthi (for driving licences) though not dynamic as yet, were already in place. Another interesting bone of contention that was actively discussed by the RTO officers was the issue of road tax. They explained that the problem exists because every state has different tax schemes. Responding to IPAB’s recommendation to automate services, Mr. Bhaskar Rao reiterated that his department has a lot of innovations in the pipeline. These include the replacement of licenses with smart cards which would record all the traffic violations by the license holder and delivery of licenses by speed post thereby removing the interface between people and officials. Things are looking up on the anti-corruption front. Following up on the fruitful discussion with the Transport Department officials IPAB will now engage with them to reduce the scope the corruption in the RTOs. IPAB considers this meeting an exciting beginning to an association with the Transport department in tackling corruption. IPAB Blog will keep you posted on all the developments in this direction. Let’s fight corruption systemically!