Recently the Indian Government have been bringing in a new, high-security format licence plates. The scheme has first started in Delhi and has not been without its critics, or its problems.
Since May this year, over 162,000 new vehicles have been registered in Delhi, but less than half have got the new high security registration plates. Blame has been placed in various directions, including retailers, distributors, and even the government’s transport authority, but no-one is accepting blame for the fiasco.
The procedure should be that car dealers send receipts to the manufacturing company when the vehicle is bought, and the transport authority then provide the high security registration plate. Delays in sending money, failure to reach manufacturing targets, and administrative errors have all compounded the problem.
This leaves drivers with a big problem as if they do not have the new plates on their vehicle they could face a significant fine of 2000 Rupees, which is about £25 but worth much more in India than it is in the UK.
So how secure are these high security registration plates? Well they are made from aluminium, are light reflecting, and they carry a special hologram hot-plated into the sheet. The plates are embossed with the registration number plate and the hot foil covering the number has IND written on it. There will also be a number on the plate that the manufacturers insert. These are lasered on and are unique to the plate. The records are kept with the manufacturers. For even more security, the plates are fitted with snap locks, and windscreens are embossed with the engine and chassis numbers.
This level of security seems extreme but car crime, including theft and fraud, is endemic in Indian cities and it is hoped that the crime rate will fall significantly due to the introduction of these measures.
These changes are expensive, but the government has extended the lead time on the project, which was originally announced in 2001, to give affected parties more time to comply with the regulations, which will eventually be rolled out across the country.
Whilst the UK doesn’t have these security requirements on registration plates yet, the authorities here will be watching the Indian story with interest. In the meantime, it is useful to take sensible precautions to protect the theft or misuse of your car as far as is possible. The police force can give very useful information, and many high street shops sell gadgets to make your car and number plates more secure.