Number craze makes RTO richer by Rs 5 cr in 6 months
RTO sees income from sale of choice numbers go up by more than 30 per cent annually over last three years; officials confident earnings from allotment of rare and coveted registrations will cross Rs 10 crore this financial year
MNS supporters have a penchant for the number ‘9’ while NCP supporters generally vie for ‘1010’ when it is time to register their new vehicles with the Regional Transport Office (RTO). The RTO has made Rs 5 crore in just the last six months by selling some choice numbers. Whatever the reason behind the number preferences, the demand for certain coveted numbers is helping the RTO get richer by the day and now its officials are looking forward to crossing the Rs 10 crore mark by the end of the financial year.
According to the Motor Vehicles Act, the price to be paid for a choice number for a two-wheeler starts from Rs 2,000 and goes up to Rs 25,000. In case of four-wheelers, the price for a preferred number can go up to Rs 3 lakh for rare combinations. In the last six months, a total of 7,286 vehicles, including two- and four-wheelers, were granted numbers of their owners’ choice. Statistical data provided by the RTO reveals that in the last three years, income from the sale of choice numbers has been increasing by 30 to 40 per cent every year.
“Every month we issue a series of choice numbers for two-wheelers, while for four-wheelers it is done after every two-and-half months,” Deputy Regional Transport Officer Sanjay Dhaygude said. “For rare numbers, we conduct a lucky draw. In the last few years, the demand for choice numbers has increased by leaps and bounds. Besides the politicians, people from the corporate class are opting for choice numbers.”
He said that the most demand was for offbeat numbers like 1, 7, 9999, 1212 and 2727, and that the price of each of these numbers was Rs 3 lakh.
Most such numbers are purchased by corporators and other politicians. “There is no logic or numerology when it comes to buying the choice numbers,” Rajendra Vagskar, corporator from Koregaon Park, said. “I don’t think corporators consult astrologers before going for a number. My vehicles’ number is 1177 because I found it attractive. There is no logic or numerology behind it.”
Ranjit Pardeshi, secretary, NCP, Pune region, said: “The craze for choice numbers is mostly in the rural areas and has become bigger in the last few
years. The government is also promoting it because it earns large revenue this way. It doesn’t mean that politicians are becoming superstitious. Our supporters prefer 1010 because in the symbol of our party is a watch and it shows the time 10.10.” An MNS supporter said: “The choice of number does not depend on numerology but on the political party. For example, most of the MMS supporters prefer 9 because party chief Raj Thackeray’s vehicle number is 9.”
While political workers have their reasons for choosing a particular number, well-known numerologist Swetta Jumaani said the common man had now started consulting numerologists for lucky numbers. “In the last few years, many people are going for numerology. Earlier it was limited to only the elite class, but now the consultancy cost for numerology has reduced to a great extent. Hence, the middle class is also opting for lucky numbers. Even rickshaw and bus drivers consult numerologists for their vehicle number.”
Number of vehicles granted registration numbers of owners' choice in last six months
Rs 3 lakh
The price that a particularly rare number can command in case of a four-wheeler