- Compulsion has been made on using FASTags on Indian National highways for Easy payment structure and minimizing of traffic. The declaration was made by the Union Roads Transport and Highways minister Nitish Gadkari.
- This decision was announced in October by the minister to get it commenced from December 1, 2020 but the deadline eventually got shifted to December 15, 2020 and further to January 15, 2021. The deadline has been finalised for January 15, 2021 allowing the structure to get started by this date throughout all the poll plazas across India.
- Details were initiated on a report that explained why and how these FASTag systems are genuinely useful to public. As per the report, the FASTags were supposed to facilitate the smooth flow of traffic, lessen the consumption of fuels, as well as easifying the payments at toll gates that usually cause traffic.
- FASTag norms for 65 toll plazas with high cash transactions have been relaxed to allow them to convert up to 25 percent of “FASTag lane of Fee Plaza” into hybrid lanes for 30 days.
- Wondering still what FASTag exactly is? A FASTag is a sticker that is attached to the windshield of your car, from the inside. This is Radio-frequency Identification (RFID) enabled via the barcode and is linked with the registration details of your vehicle. That information is stored in the barcode itself. As one drives though any toll plaza on any national highway in India, there will be dedicated lanes that have FASTag readers installed overhead—and as your vehicle passes beneath them, the RFID code is detected for the vehicle, processed and the necessary toll amount is deducted from the prepaid balance. All this will be processes and put to action without anyone having to stop or interact with a human being at a toll plaza in order to pay cash.
- A FASTag is the encoding with a GS1 identification standard (Global Individual Asset Identifier – GIAI) that allows unique identification of vehicles and that means a single tag on a vehicle can be used to make the payment at any toll plaza on the national highways across India.
- FASTags are part of the National Electronic Toll Collection (NETC) program developed by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI). Anincreased adoption of FASTags isahead for the mandatory implementation because according to the NPCI, a trial was made during the month of September, 2020 to check the frequency. To a much surprise, almost around 9.67 lakh transactions were processed every other day through FASTags across all toll plazas on national highways in India, resulting with a whopping total of 34% of all transactions done by vehicles commuting on the national highways.
- Each tag and car pairing works with the GS1 unique identification numbers, which are encoded in the FASTags. That way, each vehicle is identified in a standardized and common manner that is understood by the digital payments systems deployed by state and central governments, the Traffic Police, insurance companies and toll collection authorities.
- About 524 toll plazas across the country are required to get implemented with the FASTag systems recognising it as the largest, scalable and interoperable electronic toll collection system in the world as per the announcements made by the CEO of GSI India, Ravi Mathur.
- Talking about the advantages, there is a reduction in the handling of cashby the concessionaire as well as the authorities running toll plazas. Therefore, to allow the entire tolling system to running in decorum, the introduction to FASTags is expected highly to reduce the rush and waiting times at toll plazas, which is often because of cash collections, people trying to find the exact change or sometimes even arguments about the exact toll amount. Not only this, even the consumption of fuel is believed to be lessened during the wait at these toll gate/plazas.
- Other advantages include the seamless movement of vehicles across city parking to State to national highways. Through the use of GS1 standards (the Electronic Product code), information exchange can be facilitated about vehicle movement, road accidents, traffic predictions, etc across stakeholders by police, traffic management authorities, insurance, toll collection authorities, and municipal bodies.
How to get a FASTag?
- To get a FASTag/purchase a FASTag for your car, you can either physically buy one at certain toll plazas across India, by carrying your identification as well as the vehicle registration documents with you.
- This is a mandatory KYC process.
- You could also buy one online on Amazon.in
- Other alternate options include the availability in banks such as HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, State Bank of India, Kotak Mahindra Bank, Axis Bank as well as the Airtel Payments Bank and Paytm Payments Bank.
- The advantage of buying the FASTag from the bank where you have your savings or salary account is that they can pre-link it with your bank account for easy recharge later.
- If it is a mobile wallet for instance, then you can simply keep enough balance in that account for this to work.
Cost-structure of FASTags:
- Generally, the cost for FASTags may differ from vendor to vendor.
- The cost for FASTags keep on changing from as they depend on offers and schemes applicable at the time.
- For instances, on purchasing these FASTags from Paytm it may cost around Rs. 500: Rs 100 for the tag, Rs 250 as refundable security deposit and Rs 150 as the first recharge for your FASTag. The minimum balance threshold amount for the Paytm issued tag is also Rs 150.
- Similarly, Airtelis offering a cashback of Rs 150 for prepaid and postpaid users if you buy a FASTag from them.
- If you decide to buy from HDFC Bank, the tag costs you Rs 400: Rs 100 for the tag, Rs 100 as reissuance fee and Rs 200 as security deposit. The minimum balance threshold amount for the HDFC issued tag is also Rs 100.
- There are cash backs as well every time you use this. For instance, you can avail a cashback of 2.5% on all National Toll payments using FASTag in FY 2019-20. Irrespective of whether you buy the FASTag from HDFC or Paytm, you will get 2.5% Cashback on all National Highway Toll payments for FY 2019-20. FASTag issuers may have more offers from time to time.
How to recharge your FASTag balance?
- For recharging the balance on the FASTag, you can log in to the payment system of the bank which has issued the FASTag and make the recharge from your bank account.
- In case, the purchase of this FASTag is made from Paytm, then you need to recharge your linked Paytm account and the balance shall be deducted from that every time you pass through a toll plaza on a national highway.
- You can also download the My FASTag app (free for Android on the Google Play Store) and recharge your FASTag via the unified payments interface (UPI) there.
- The online NHAI FASTag has been conceived in a DIY (Do-It-Yourself) concept wherein a customer can self-activate it by entering customer and vehicle details in My FASTag mobile app.