Since the demonetisation of 2016, there has been rampant growth in the digital payments space in India. Moreover, as digital payments adoption among individuals is increasing, it is also helping the government to collect various taxes electronically. One such example is FASTags, which has changed the way taxes were paid at toll plazas.
Since the implementation of Electronic Toll Collection through FASTag on December 15, 2019, the government has issued over 1.15 Cr FASTags, according to a PIB notification. Moreover, the government has issued more than one lakh FASTags since it was implemented. It was earlier reported that on the first day of introduction, FASTag was used by more than half of the commuters travelling through national highways.
FASTag is an electronic device that facilitates cashless toll tax collection at toll plazas operated by the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI). The device uses an RFID (radio frequency identification) technology to make toll payments directly from the prepaid wallet or savings account linked to it. The technology helps commuters to save a lot of time at the toll plazas, while also reducing the reliance on cash.
As of now, the total transaction made via FASTag has reached 30 Lakh. Additionally, the daily transactional worth of electronic toll collection has even crossed INR 50 Cr mark.
Further, to simplify the recharge of FASTag, the government has also incorporated BHIM unified payments interface (UPI) app among other modes of adding money.
Officially launched by NHAI on October 1, 2017, FASTag was initially rolled out across 370 toll plazas established on national highways in India. Prior to this official launch, NHAI, in April 2016, had announced the launch of e-tolling service at about 300 such toll plazas.
FASTags comes with a validity of five years and a user needs to buy a new device to enjoy cashless transactions at toll plazas. FASTag can be ordered online through platforms such as Amazon, Paytm, and Airtel app. Additionally, it can also be bought at point of sale (PoS) locations set up by 23 banks and the NHAI at Road Transport Authority offices, transport hubs, bank branches, and select petrol pumps.