LAHORE: The Excise Taxation and Narcotics Control Department (ETNCD) is all set to launch automated registration cards (ARC) for vehicles in the coming few weeks. These will replace the passport size registration book.
The department has proposed the price of the ARC to be around Rs530. The proposal has been sent to the provincial government for formal approval by the cabinet committee. A state-of-the-art production facility has been also been established at the Excise Taxation and Narcotics Control Department DG’s office. The project was approved by former Punjab chief minister Shehbaz Sharif in March 2015.
The ARC, contrary to earlier plans, will not pilot from Lahore. Instead, it will be made operational for the entire province at once. The department will, in the first phase, issue ARC’s to newly registered vehicles in Punjab. At the same time, the old books of already registered will remain legally valid. Additionally, even after the launch, the department will wait for the stock of registration books to run from their district offices before launching these cards.
According to an estimate, the department issues two million books annually of which 1.6 million are issued for newly registered vehicles, whereas 0.4 million are issued for those already registered. Just in the last financial year of 2017-18, around 1.8 million new vehicles were registered. The facility established at the DG office is fully capable to issue the required numbers of ARCs.
The near field communication (NFC) chip on the card will verify the card details and display the token tax expiry date, along with other necessary information.
The model project has been greatly inspired from the West, where registration cards were issued instead of registration books. The purpose of this project is to eliminate the hassle of carrying a fragile registration book which wears out after a certain period of time and is difficult to carry in terms of its size.
ET&NC Excise Additional Director General Masudul Haq said the ARC would be launched by October 10 as the project only needed a formal approval from the cabinet, which they are expecting in the coming two to three days. He said these cards would either be supplied through excise offices or directly to mailing addresses through a courier company. He said that an e-auction, universal number plates and change in size of number plates were expected to be launched by January next year.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 27th, 2018.