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PIB 14th February 2021

Contents

  1. FASTag declared mandatory from 16th February 2021

FASTag declared mandatory from 16th February 2021

Context:

  • Ministry of Road Transport & Highways has decided that all lanes in the fee plazas on National Highways shall be declared as “FASTag lane of the fee plaza” w.e.f midnight of 15th/16th February 2021.
  • As per NH Fee Rules 2008, any vehicle not fitted with FASTag or vehicle without valid, functional FASTagentering into the FASTag lane of the fee plaza shall pay a fee equivalent to two times of the fee applicable to that category.

Relevance:

GS-II: Social Justice, Polity and Governance

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. FASTag
  2. Advantages of Using FASTag
  3. Problems with FASTag
  4. About RFID Technology

FASTag

  • FASTag is an electronic toll collection system in India, operated by the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI).
  • It employs Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology for making toll payments directly from the prepaid or savings account linked to it or directly toll owner.
  • As per NHAI, FASTag has unlimited validity. 7.5% cashback offers were also provided to promote the use of FASTag.
  • Dedicated Lanes at some Toll plazas have been built for FASTag.

Advantages of Using FASTag

  • Digital transaction makes it easier to collect toll fees.
  • Congestion in Toll plazas will reduce.
  • Non-stop movement at the highways will reduce Fuel consumption and even pollution.
  • The Effort in Managing toll gates is reduced as the system is more automated.
  • There will also be reduced paper wastage (in the form of tokens/receipts)
  • This will be a unifying system as FASTags are not specific to the state or region and work all over India.

Problems with FASTag

  • Technical issues and glitches are possible which makes the system susceptible to false charges or other such issues.
  • All the toll booths are yet to be made FASTag compatible and this has not necessarily reduced the congestion issue yet.
  • The RFID technology is not failproof and can be misused by duplication or other “hacks”.
  • The FASTags sold by banks have to be recharged from the same bank, as they are not Bank Neutral (unless you buy it directly from NHAI).

About RFID Technology

  • Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) uses radio waves to communicate between two objects: a reader and a tag. RFID communication is the same as two-way radio communication in the sense that information is transmitted or received via a radio wave at a specific frequency.
  • Passive tags collect energy from a nearby RFID reader’s interrogating radio waves. Active tags have a local power source such as a battery and may operate at hundreds of meters from the RFID reader.

RFID applications apart from usage in Toll collection:

  • Self-checkins at Libraries / rental services as well as retail premises.
  • Livestock Management and pet identification.
  • Building Security – secure access controls, documentation and passports.
  • Airports – for baggage tracking and tracing/locating.
  • SMART home controls – systems to manage home/business energy consumption/production.
  • Seismic Sensing – such as locating gas lines and temperature sensing (geophysical).
  • Environmental – Energy, Ozone & Pollution measuring equipment.

-Source: PIB

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