The National Highway Authority of India (NHAI), on Friday (June 12), said that it will incorporate cloud-based and artificial intelligence (AI)-powered big data analytics platform Data Lake and Project Management Software into its system for a quicker decision-making process and to reduce pending disputes.
The Data Lake software will forecast delays and likely disputes and send out advance alerts. It will also facilitate taking correct and timely decisions as it can predict financial impacts of different alternatives based on historical data. The ministry believes that it will help in reducing many disputes.
Currently, NHAI has several pending arbitration cases, with a huge amount of claims. According to the highways authority, most of these disputes are generic in nature which includes delay in handing over of encumbrance free site, idling charges of plant, machinery, equipment, manpower and delay in decisions, among others.
“These disputes can be minimised as the Data Lake software has provisions to keep track and check on all these constraints and will ensure work is carried out within the deadlines in a transparent manner. As all processes are going to be portal-based, decision-making is going to be faster and will eventually diminish chances of litigation in the future,” the ministry said, in an official statement.
The NHAI is also in the process to digitise all state highways. The initiative started off with onboarding digital payments platform Paytm to enable real-time cashless toll collection across 40 highways in the country, in 2016. This allowed commuters to pay toll charges instantly with their Paytm wallet. The electronically managed tolls are aimed at saving time at toll gates and to smoothen the overall process in the wake of the government’s move towards demonetisation.
In 2019, the ministry introduced FASTag cards, an electronic toll collection system, on December 15, 2019. It deploys radio frequency identification (RFID) technology for making toll payments directly from the prepaid or savings account linked to it.
The data-intrusive centralised system ensures seamless traffic and prevents congestion at toll plazas by allowing automatic deduction of toll charges. The integration of this technology has reportedly increased NHAI’s toll revenue by 40% to Rs 85-80 Cr as compared to the average figure of around INR 60 Cr.
Besides this, the ministry has also incorporated a FASTag-like technology, developed by Mumbai-based startup Fastlane, in some petrol pumps in India. The new technology directly addresses consumer concerns like fear of incorrect quantity dispensed and money charged for fuelling.