One of the biggest challenges that the traffic department faces in a heavily populous country like India is controlling errant drivers of vehicles from breaking traffic rules and regulations. With manual systems of enforcement in place, it is a difficult task for the on-the-job traffic constables. Other than that, the constable and the other ground staff are generally viewed as corrupt, mismanaging the entire spot fine system and imposing unrealistic fines for offences not committed or worthy of a penalty. All this discussion supported by the Digital India Program of the government to turn the country cashless and digitize systems that involved payments led to the conceptualization of the e-challan system in the country.
Digitization and automation of manual systems have generally generated encouraging results. In the case of an e-challan system too, it is being conceived that it will do good to both the involved parties – the motor vehicle drivers and the traffic police – in the proper implementation of the system. Statistics reveal that the country had about 230 million motor vehicles in the year 2016. It has obviously increased in the last two years as we see the trend of multiple vehicles ownership of each family catching up in smaller cities too. What generally leads people in our country to break traffic rules are basically the casual attitude of the implementing authority as well as lack of respect for laws amongst the public. It is a common sight in almost all the states in the country where people drive the wrong side or motorists travel without helmet or people simply ignoring the red-light signals. People driving while on phone, driving without seatbelts, rash driving and even changing lanes rapidly etc. are things that we have all got used to because it is so widespread in our localities, towns and cities.
The best part about e-challan is that it is not monitored manually, instead, there are CCTV cameras installed in various parts of the city that pick-up vehicle and driver movements helping the traffic department shortlist erring drivers. The electronic challan is then generated and a fine is raised against the type of error that has been committed – it is either emailed, SMS or even sent to the residential address of the driver for payments. With manual systems, there was a chance that proper tracking of data is not done – but with automated systems, no data can be overlooked and left untraced. Hence it has become easy for the traffic police to catch the repeat offenders and even get their licenses suspended. The traffic constable can no longer be accused of over-charging or being negligent – some of the common accusations that the traffic department faces. There are certain spots that are identified within the city where the traffic police are posted to keep a manual check on erring drivers – these policemen are equipped with hand-held e-challan generating machines.
E-challan has also made payments easy. Why? Because payments can be done online now using credit cards, debit cards, Net banking or even the electronic wallet.