On Monday, Union Minister of road transport and highways Nitin Gadkari while delivering the JS Karandikar memorial lecture in Pune said that the central government was in the process of bringing in a law to scrap the outdated Regional Transport Offices (RTO).
He said, "There are some outdated laws and systems which need to be scrapped. Systems like RTOs will soon be abolished; there is no need for RTOs. We have prepared a law which will be introduced soon to replace RTOs."
At RTOs, corruption has become a way of life
Corruption has become an everyday phenomenon in RTOs and this has led to the word 'bribe' being replaced with ‘service charge,' and further encouraging the back-door policies.
A TOI report said, "Agents scare citizens into enlisting their services by telling them that nothing gets done without a little help. "Bada RTO saheb bahut natak karta hai, files move nahi karta (senior RTO officials throw tantrums, don't move files easily)."
Abhishek Pandey, a student, had a painful experience when he visited a local RTO office in UP.
"If you go to an RTO, every counter has a long queue of agents. And If you are trying to get your work done on your own, then you have to wait for hours which leaves you with no other option but to approach agents," said Pandey.
The experience with officials and the system is abrasive and the number of people who would say that the situation of RTOs is good in our country would be a rarity.
"The RTOs in Delhi are still better but in other states it is a very big hassle to get your work done in these offices," said Ashish Srivastava, who once visited an RTO office in Delhi's Mayur Vihar.
Harassment of people in the RTOs
The experience of citizens is harrowing at these transport offices as they get harassed and your work can only be completed at a faster pace only if you give some bribe.
Advocating the same Nitin Gadkari was quoted as saying in the TOI, "Tithe Laxmi darshanacha khel chalto (money rules there)."
The future plan - alternative for RTOs
Revealing more about the future plan of scrapping RTOs, Gadkari said that a new system will be employed with the help of the traffic models in the UK and other countries to nab the traffic violators.
He said, "Under the system, you will be served a notice at your doorstep if you break a traffic rule. And if you go to court against the notice and lose the case, you will have to pay three times the fine."
"I have promised the PM that within two years, I will give the nation 2% GDP from the port and road sector. There are difficulties along the way and expectations are high, but we are confident that we will be able to fulfil all promises. The people have rejected communal politics and divisive agendas and have voted for development," he further said.
A step towards a corruption-free India
Not only the RTO offices even the RTO officials create a lot of problems for the public. In January a non -government organization (NGO) based in Thane had alleged that at the border check posts, the number of heavy carriage vehicles are underreported which in turn caused multi-crore losses to the state exchequer.
Unless the middlemen (the agents) are eliminated and more people are appointed, corruption cannot be weeded out from these RTOs. Thus, it seems this plan to scrap these Regional Transport Offices will be in country's favour.
Corruption is a major roadblock in a country's development. Thus, it seems that this step by Modi government will help in reducing these corrupt practices which took place in the regional offices till now. But not to forget the fact that not only Government, even concerted efforts from the citizens are also needed to put a curb on such fraudulent practices.