E-learner's licence facility in Kerala becomes hurdle for differently-abled

Driving school operators are demanding a more flexible system where the applicants can get the learner's licence both offline and online.

Published: 07th February 2022 04:12 AM  |   Last Updated: 07th February 2022 04:12 AM   |  A+A-

A Kochi-based driving school resumes practical sessions adhering to Covid protocol at Thrikkakara

A Kochi-based driving school resumes practical sessions adhering to COVID protocol at Thrikkakara. (Photo| Albin Mathew, EPS)

Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The online application facility, to apply for driving learner's licence without having to visit the Motor Vehicles Department (MVD) office, is turning out to be a bane for hundreds of differently-abled applicants.

While the new facility enables citizens to apply for a learner's licence from the comfort of their homes, an average of 70 to 100 applications from differently-abled people are rejected every day citing a lack of required documents. Officials blame poor awareness and guidance as reasons for the situation. 

MVD officials claim they are unable to screen the applications or guide applicants in the absence of a physical visit. The physical screening happens only when the applicants attend the test to get their licences.

"Most of them apply for a learner's licence like normal individuals and they don't enrol in a driving school because of the huge fees involved. Government departments working for the welfare of the disabled should help such people get the licence. Also, specific days should be allotted for the differently-abled," said an official.

However, such applicants face hardship when they arrive for the driving licence test without the required documents.

According to norms, a disability certificate should be produced from an ophthalmologist, ENT specialist or an orthopaedic surgeon with a government hospital.  For 18-year-old Vishnu, an applicant with hearing difficulty from Thiruvananthapuram, the wait to get a licence continues.

"I had the disability certificate with me when I went for the test last week. But when my turn came, I was told to produce another medical certificate without which I couldn’t attend the test. I went to four hospitals but did not get any help due to the COVID situation. It took me five days to finally get the certificate, from the medical college hospital," said Vishnu, who was unaware of the requirements. 

According to MVD officials, there needs to be a separate system for differently-abled applicants. "It's not easy convincing them when they come to attend the test. Many people have approached the court for not allowing them to attend the test after getting the learner’s licence," said an official. The centralised digital platform does not give all information to the applicants, the official said.

Driving school operators demand more flexibility 

An average of 2.5 lakh to 3 lakh learner's licences are issued every year, with the state having around 35 lakh license holders. Driving school operators are demanding a more flexible system where the applicants can get the learner's licence both offline and online.

Das Biju, one of the state secretaries of the All Kerala Driving School Workers' Union (CITU), said that migrating the learner’s licence to a digital platform is not a feasible option for many applicants. "Only people having a computer at home can apply for a learner's licence. The site doesn't work on mobile phones most of the time. Those who cannot do it online should have the option to do it directly from the MVD office. People with disabilities have been facing a lot of issues after the new system came into place," Das said.



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