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What’s the status of India’s GPS-based toll collection project?

The government plans to leverage vehicle tracking systems for the project even as privacy concerns loom large.

Just as Indians were finally getting up to speed with the FASTag electronic toll collection system, the government has set its eyes on a more advanced and sophisticated tolling system – GPS-based toll collection. What do we know so far? How will GPS-based toll collection work? The government is yet to figure out the exact specifications of this system, but the general idea is that an onboard GPS chip will determine when a vehicle enters and exits a toll road and communicate this to a service provider using cellular internet. The service provider, in turn, will automatically deduct charges from a digital wallet or bank account connected to the vehicle based on the distance traveled on the toll road. Launch expected by 2023: In December 2020, the Minister of Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari said that GPS-based tolling will replace toll plazas by 2023. In March this year, he doubled down on this commitment and said that the GPS-based tolling system will be implemented within a year. Policy expected in November 2021: In August this year, Gadkari said that a "concrete" policy for the GPS-based tolling initiative will be ready within three months. Some new vehicles come fitted with GPS trackers: Gadkari said in December last year that all new commercial vehicles come with vehicle tracking systems and the government will come up with a plan to install GPS technology in old vehicles. In March, he told the Parliament that old vehicles will be provided with GPS trackers for free. While it is mandatory…

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