Minister of Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari said on December 17 that GPS-based tolling will replace toll plazas in two years, The Hindu Business Line reported. New trucks and buses will come with GPS-based systems that will allow toll to be deducted automatically, he said. However, it’s unclear whether he meant that these classes of vehicles would be exempt from toll plazas or if toll plazas themselves would be phased out. If it’s the latter, it’s unclear how GPS tolling would be implemented for personal vehicles; personal vehicle GPS systems don’t generally come included in India the way they do abroad.
Gadkari said that revenues from highways were projected to touch ₹34,000 crore. He estimated that with GPS-based tolling, highways would generate ₹1,34,000 crore in revenue over the next five years. “While now all commercial vehicles are coming with vehicle tracking systems, the Government will come up with some plan to install GPS technology in old vehicles,” a government press release said citing Gadkari.
Highways and their associated infrastructure have been slow to develop, much to the annoyance of Gadkari, who has lashed out against bureaucratic inaction in the past. At the Assocham event he was speaking at, he disputed what he described as an IAS officer’s pessimism of the National Highways Authority of India’s financial state. In October, he complained at the inauguration of an NHAI building that bureaucrats in charge of the project slow-walked its completion, and said that he was “ashamed” at its slow progress.
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