You might have come across the news about the launch of FASTag. Yes, as per the directives of the Union Ministry of Road, Transport, and Highways, FASTag will be made mandatory for all vehicles paying road tolls on National Highways. This has been implemented under the National Electronic Toll Collection (NETC) programme and will be effective from 1 December 2019. So, if you’re wondering what exactly is FASTag, read on for all the important details.
Q1. What is FASTag?
A FASTag is a reloadable vehicle tag that allows the automatic collection of toll charges using Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) technology. A FASTag allows cashless payment at toll plazas making your trips extremely fast and convenient as it also helps in clearing traffic congestion at toll plazas.
The NETC programme was developed by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) to meet the requirements of the electronic toll collection system in India. The main objective of the system is the reduction of the overall time consumption and traffic congestions at toll plazas on our highways. Media reports state that more than 450 toll plazas across the country will support the FASTag technology when it will be launched.
Q2. How does FASTag work?
A FASTag is linked to the user’s savings bank account or a prepaid FASTag wallet. The Electronic Toll Collection (ETC) system at toll plazas are installed in the FASTag lanes wherein the details of the car, the FASTag ID, the registration number, and the name of the vehicle owner are recorded. These details are captured by scanning the FASTag RFID tag which is placed on the windscreen of the vehicle. The scanner uses RFID technology to read the same.
These details are then sent to the acquiring bank which, in turn, sends a request to the NETC Mapper for the validation of the details received by scanning the tag. Once the details are validated, the system calculates the toll charges and sends a debit request to the NETC system. The toll fee is then automatically deducted from the bank account or FASTag wallet linked to the tag.
Q3. How to get a FASTag?
You can get a FASTag for your vehicle from the toll plazas or get in touch with any issuer agency such as banks. Under the provision of the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) and the Indian Highways Management Company Limited (IHMCL), several banks are part of the NETC programme. There are 23 private sector and public sector banks which are currently issuing FASTags, including the State Bank Of India, HDFC Bank, ICICI and Axis Bank. Apart from that, you can also get your FASTag through Amazon India and Paytm. Also, Minister of Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari has stated that FASTag will be available for free at toll plazas between 22 November and 1 December, according to several media reports.
Here’s what you need to do to get a FASTag:
- Visit one of the issuing agencies’ official websites and click on the ‘Apply Now’ option under their FASTag section.
- You will be redirected to a new web page wherein you will be required to fill in a form with your details such as your name, gender, date of birth, email ID, and mobile phone number.
- You will also be required to provide an ID proof while placing a request for a FASTag.
- Followed by this, you will be required to provide your residential address and vehicle details.
- Once all the details have been recorded, you can confirm your application and make the payment for the FASTag.
The process of application differs from platform to platform. However, the on-screen directions on the issuer websites are easy to follow.
Q4. How much does it cost to buy and maintain FASTag?
If you’re not getting your FASTag for free at various toll plazas before 1 December, you will have to pay a one-time fee of Rs. 100 to buy it either from a bank or an authorised online seller. Users will also have to pay a refundable security deposit of Rs. 200 for a car or van and need to maintain a minimum balance of Rs.100 in their FASTag accounts. The security deposit will be more for bigger vehicles. Also, do note that users with full KYC are allowed to add up to Rs. 1 lakh to their FASTag prepaid accounts. The ones with limited KYC cannot add more than Rs.10,000 to their FASTag accounts.
Q5. What are the documents required for the process?
For the application process, you will be required to provide the following documents:
- Passport-size photograph of the owner of the vehicle
- KYC documents of the owner of the vehicle – Proof of ID and proof of address
- Registration certificate of the vehicle
Q6. What are the other key things once keep in mind?
1) FASTag mandatory: As mentioned earlier, the Ministry of Road, Transport, and Highways has recently made the FASTag mandatory which will be put into effect on the 1st of December this year. Thus, it will be a wise decision to get your FASTag before the deadline.
2) Double toll charges: One of the most important things to remember is that if your vehicle does not have a FASTag and you enter the FASTag lane at a toll plaza, you will have to pay double the toll charges.
3) Government incentive: To make the FASTag feature successful and to reduce the traffic congestion at toll booths, the government has incentivised the feature. Under this incentive programme, FASTag users will receive a cashback on toll charges of 2.5% for the financial year 2019-20.
The implementation of FASTag will make travelling in and out of the city extremely convenient and is expected to reduce the congestion at toll plazas. There is also the added advantage of not worrying about carrying change especially to pay at toll booths. In addition to that, it is also beneficial for fleet owners who can automate the process of toll payments using FASTag.
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