The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has ordered implementation of a new rule starting 1st December, under which all cars sold on or after the date will have to be fitted with a 'FASTag' device on the windscreens for smooth passage through toll plazas. The notification follows an amendment to Central Motor Vehicle Rules, 1989 by the Central government as per powers vested in it under the Motor Vehicles Act, 1989. The notification also said that in case of any vehicle which is sold in the form of drive-away-chassis without a windscreen, FASTags shall be fitted on the windscreen by the vehicle owner before the registration of such vehicles.
A FASTag is a device that employs Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology for making toll payments directly from the prepaid or savings account linked to it, and is affixed on the windscreen of the vehicle and enables the commuter to drive through toll plazas, without stopping for cash transactions.
As a car crosses a toll plaza, the amount will be automatically deducted and a notification will be sent the registered mobile phone number. A FASTag is valid for five years and needs to be recharged only as per requirement. The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) says that these devices will make passing through tolls a lot smoother since drivers will no longer have to carry cash or stop to make a transaction.
Users will be able to recharge FASTags online through Credit Card / Debit Card /NEFT/ RTGS or Net Banking.
Car companies have little to do in this matter as almost all cars these days come fitted with RFID tags. After the implementation of this rule, users will be required to link the tag to their accounts through a digital payment form. Only then will the vehicle be registered. Old vehicle owners are not required by law to buy the device, but it would only save them and others more time if they did. Owners of cars bought before 1st December can approach toll offices of NHAI and buy tags that can be mounted on the windshields of their vehicles.
Thus, apart from making passing through toll plazas much smoother, the device will also give a boost to the Modi government's 'Digital India' drive as vehicle owners will no longer be required to carry cash or stop at the cash counter to make a payment. This will help save one's precious time also as in metro cities people usually have to wait for hours to pass through different toll plazas, especially during peak hours. It may be noted that in pursuance of PM Modi’s drive for a cashless economy, NHAI in consultation with RBI and NPCI has been working on installation and efficient execution of ETC (Electronic Toll Collection) infrastructure at all toll plazas under its jurisdiction, which will help provide commuters a safe, smooth and seemless journey on national highways.