Before you read this post, you may consider I have been living in the United States and keep visiting India quite regularly. In the US, things like banking and drivers licenses have become more complicated post 9-11 but they are still relatively paper free. But they are no patch on the amount of paperwork that you need to sign in India no matter where you go? It could be 6 copies of your passport picture, 3 copies of your PAN card!
The golden question is what does the bank; government agency or real estate registrar do with these documents. It is true that people can manipulate PAN card numbers, but how will a Xerox copy of my PAN card help? The answer is that perhaps they fear a chance of someone stealing my identity. The mindless signing of documents almost inspired me to get my signature stamp to be whipped out at the first sign of a form!
In India, a PAN card has become mandatory for buying stocks, mutual funds as well as for conducting real estate transactions. In the US, the Social Security Number or the SSN is a unique identifier for an individual. For whatever I have to do, open up a new bank account, apply for a new credit card or a new loan, I just have to enter my SSN and I am generally done with it. I am presuming that the upcoming UID # with a 12-digit nationally valid unique life time identifier for Indian residents will be similar to the SSN and reduce some of this paperwork.
Paper as I see is not going to disappear from the day-to-day Indian filing system, but I feel that they need to work towards offices that require less paper to save time and also the environment (trees). Given how expensive real estate is in the leading metro cities of India, the number of PAN card and passport picture copies must be a mountain of files running into some serious numbers. I wonder where the heap of paper work is stored. If they are storing it in their offices, then it looks like a gross waste of valuable real estate.
It makes me wonder about the prospects of setting up storage space in remote parts of big metros as the next big business move in India.
I suggest an operation that offers a level of service for pick-up and delivery with a high-class vault storage facility at remote destinations off the main city. It is bound to help businesses, government agencies to better plan, track, and execute documents and files.
Let me know your thoughts. Your feedback is always welcome.
Disclaimer: The copyright in the cartoon is with the author and the same is produced ‘AS IS’ and does not reflect the opinion, advice or statement of the blogger. The source of the cartoon is: http://www.cartoonstock.com