The ministry of road transport and highways, on February 12, waived off the FASTag cost of INR 100 for 15 days from February 15 to February 29. The government has taken the step to promote electronic toll collection, after making FASTag’s mandatory last year.
FASTags are electronically-readable tags attached to a vehicle’s windscreen, which enables automatic toll deductions from a linked bank account without any manual intervention. The FASTag is scanned automatically at tolls booths across 527 national highways.
The government made FASTag chips at every toll booth on all national highways mandatory from December 15, 2019. While the government officially launched the FASTag service on October 1, 2017, across 370 toll plazas that were under NHAI. Then, in April 2016, NHAI had also launched a e-tolling service at about 300 toll plaza across the country that allowed vehicles with FASTag cards to pass the toll gate without having to stop the vehicle.
The government’s current statement on FSDTags. reads, “In order to further increase digital collection of user fee via FASTag at NH fee plazas, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has decided to waive off the FASTag cost of ₹100 for NHAI FASTag between February 15 and 29, 2020.”
The FASTag can be bought from all national highway fee plazas, regional transport offices, common service centres. transport hubs and petrol pumps. The ministry has clarified that customers can go to such locations and get their free FASTag. However, the fee security deposit and minimum balance applicable for the FASTag wallet continues to be the same as before.
Road transport and highways minister Nitin Gadkari also highlighted that the Indian government has noted that its revenue has increased to INR 87 Cr per day from INR 68 Cr, all thanks to FASTags.
In January 2020, the National Electronic Toll Collection (NETC) system, which enables FASTag, recorded 93.02 Mn transactions, a 45% M-o-M jump after mandatory FASTag implementation.
Rajan Wadhera, president of Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), has previously said that FASTags implementation will not only improve collections but also have an impact on the environment and logistics efficiency. FASTags will ensure faster turnaround time for the movement of goods and vehicles, Wadhera had said.
In October 2019, Gadkari had said that the cameras at the FASTag toll booth will capture photos of passengers in a vehicle, which will be beneficial in the long run to keep track of vehicle movement across the country. Additionally, these cameras also inform concerned departments in case of any traffic law violation and help the authority in solving or investigating crime and tax-evasion cases.