The National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) will open dedicated FASTag lanes at 48 different toll plazas on Delhi – Mumbai, Mumbai-Chennai Corridors. It was first introduced in October 2014 to enable cashless payments at Toll Plazas; FASTag is an electronic toll collection system that works on RFID by making toll payments directly from the pre-paid account linked to it; car owners can purchase tags and stick them on windshields.
In addition, the RFID enabled tags can now be purchased at 23 new Toll Plazas through Points of Sale (POS) outlets. Out of these, 19 POS outlets are already open, 4 more will be added within a week, NHAI added. The government says that the system is currently operational in more than 325 toll plazas on national highways across the country. However, note that the NHAI has a total of 392 toll plazas listed on its online portal.
Cashbacks on recharges and offers: Passengers holding monthly passes for using national highways can get the FASTag for free, as the NHAI has decided to provide the tags by waiving off onetime user fee of Rs. 200. Government has also allowed the NHAI to offer 10% cash back on toll payments made in FY2016-17 for all FASTag users. The cash back amount for each month will be credited back to the FASTag prepaid accounts, starting from July 2016.
Recharges on FASTag: All FASTag stickers are linked to a prepaid account that can be recharged by cheque and RTGS/NEFT transfer or online through credit/debit card and net-banking. Apart from this, FASTag users shall get SMS alerts for all their toll transactions, low balance etc.
Future implications and scope of FASTag: At the time of launch in 2014, the government said that data from FASTag system can be used to automate process of traffic surveys, which in turn can help regulate collection of data (and toll tax) to create a central data repository. This traffic information collected over seven days and twice a year at more than 1,600 locations will help the government plan better infrastructure and traffic management.
Other developments in e-governance
– Last month, the Indian government paid a total of Rs 122.4 crore has been as commissions to Village Level Entrepreneurs (VLEs) who help facilitate routine operations in Common Service Centres across the country.
– The government also launched an online trading platform for farmers, connecting them to a network of wholesale agricultural markets in April.
-In the same month, in a bid to reduce human involvement between tax officials and citizens, the Income Tax department launched an ‘E-filling’ facility for select category of individuals and firms.
– In March, Election Commission of India (ECI) launched a set of mobile apps, and other online initiatives related to electoral processes, which can be used by candidates and political parties to submit mandatory filings/statements or request certain permissions.
Read our coverage of E-governance services here.