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FASTag could be made mandatory for vehicles purchased before December 2017

Credit: Soumyarendra Barik

FASTags are already mandatory for vehicles bought after December 2017. The Road Transport Ministry on Thursday said it is now considering mandating it for older vehicles i.e. those sold before December 2017.

To this effect, the ministry has invited comments for a proposed amendment of the Central Motor Vehicles Rules, in a draft gazette notification on Tuesday. If finalised, older vehicles (sold before December 2017) will need to have FASTags starting January 1, 2021. Comments to the changes can be emailed to the Ministry at: jspbmorth@gov.in, until the end of September.

FASTag details could be captured while getting a new insurance as well: Another proposed change is that the Ministry wants mandate FASTags for getting new third-party insurance policies. Every vehicle on Indian roads is mandated to have third-party insurance, and under the current CMVR an authorised insurer has to issue an insurance policy to every vehicle owner, along with a certificate of insurance. As of now, there is no provision to input a vehicle’s FASTag number in the certificate, but in the draft gazette notification, it has proposed to add a new column to capture FASTag details of a motor vehicle. This is slated to come into effect on April 1, 2021.

FASTags becoming mandatory for a number of things: It appears that the Ministry has plans of making FASTags mandatory for a number of things aside from digital toll payments, which was their initial intended use case. Just last week, FASTags were made mandatory to avail discounts on return journeys or any other exemptions at toll fee plazas, for both private and commercial vehicles.

In July, the Ministry had said that FASTag details will be captured each time a vehicle is registered, or is issued a fitness certificate. It also said that the National Electronic Toll Collections, which handles FASTag payments, has been completely integrated with the national vehicle registration database, Vahan, meaning that the Vahan system is now getting information on FASTags on the basis of a vehicle’s registration and identification number.

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FASTags, originally introduced in 2014, are prepaid RFID tags which can be used to pay tolls on highways without stopping at the plaza, and the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways had first mandated their use on December 1, 2017. However, since then, there were a number of postponements to that, because several people hadn’t put up FASTags on their vehicles “due to various reasons”.

Bulk data sharing policy scrapped: In June, the Road Transport Ministry decided to scrap its controversial bulk data sharing policy which allowed the Ministry to sell Vahan (vehicles registration) and Sarthi (drivers licence) databases to companies, and educational institutions. Instead, it will now share reports generated on analysis of the data present with it, and on the basis of the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019.

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