I got my driving license in 1994, which was soon after I joined college. It was an exciting moment then after I successfully proved to the inspector that I can bend/turn in an S shape a Car and a motorbike. I qualified for Light Motor Vehicle (LMV) and Motor Cycle (M/CYCL) categories. I had learnt to drive a car and bike few years before that on my own, by starting/reversing/turning/parking the car inside my residential campus. In 1994 I don’t remember writing any written test. The license I got then was valid for a period of 20 years. The expiry date comes during last week of next month (October 2014) and I had to renew it now.
I am a member of Automobile Association of South India (AASI). As a recognised body by the Government, I got the renewal forms from AASI, filled them up, got the medical certificate from my family doctor and submitted two days back to AASI along with two photos of myself. They charged Rs.400 or so which includes Government of Tamil Nadu fees. They asked me to report to Regional Transport Office (RTO) near my house at K.K.Nagar at 10:30 AM yesterday which I did. The AASI Coordinator paid the fees and gave me the forms back. I submitted it to a verification desk, a wait of ten minutes followed, my name was called and the documents along with my current license stapled were given back to me. I was asked to join in back of a Queue for taking my photograph and signature in an electronic capture device. The queue was orderly (which is uncommon in a government office in India), there were chairs to sit and the queue moved briskly.
I saw no touts plying their trade openly or inside the RTO building, I couldn’t confirm/deny whether they were present outside the gates.
When I was sitting in the Queue I could see/hear the RTO officer politely and firmly telling a person (who appeared to be a retired Police officer) that he can’t help him to jump the queue as there are many people standing there. Surprise, Surprise!. Coming back to the Queue, in about 20-25 minutes my turn came, the photograph was done. I was asked to turn up in the evening and collect it. I met the AASI coordinator he said he will collect in the evening on my behalf and I can collect the same today from AASI office which I did.Now I have my license renewed for next 10 years. I spent Rs.400 and about 45 minutes of time for the process. Simple & clean. I wish more Government departments and processes work this smooth.
Update 31/Aug/2017: I noticed a popular Tamil NewsPaper Dinamalar has used the above picture of my License from this blog post in their article. Also Thanthi TV & News7 have used the image in their stories. While I am happy to see my work getting noticed, I would’ve appreciated if the reputed news houses have given an acknowledgement back to this blog.