FASTag has been made mandatory for all four-wheelers in the country from January 1, 2021, the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways has announced. This essentially changes the earlier diktat according to which FASTags were mandatory only for four-wheelers brought after December 1, 2017.

The ministry also announced that FASTags would become mandatory while getting third-party vehicle insurance policies. This rule shall be applicable from April 1, 2021. Both these decisions have been in the works since September.

  • Additionally, the tags will be required for any vehicle owner who wishes to renew its fitness certificates. Earlier, as per a July decision, FASTag details were supposed to be captured in the VAHAN database during issuance of the certificates; it wasn’t mandatory.

While it is only now that the stickers have become essential for four-wheelers brought before 2017, there have been other moves that made them practically unavoidable. For instance, a few months ago, the ministry made them mandatory for availing discounts offered on two-way tolls. This is not to mention how several lanes at these toll plazas are now available only to vehicles with FASTag stickers. Per a report from February 2020, the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) had collected ₹20 crore from over 18 lakh “defaulters” who were supposed to stay out of these exclusive lanes.

Expanding FASTag ecosystem

The ubiquity of FASTags will likely give rise to new applications outside the highways ecosystem — till May 2020, NHAI had issued 1.68 crore stickers. The precedent has been set by the Chennai police and municipal corporation, which recently decided to use them for deducting traffic fines from FASTag accounts directly. CCTV cameras in the city will reportedly capture violations along with FASTag details. Officials had estimated that almost 90% of four-wheelers in the city already had FASTag. It is

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