India Current Affairs 2017

NHAI launches MyFASTag and FASTag Partner mobile apps

The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) launched two mobile Apps – MyFASTag and FASTag Partner in to facilitate the availability of FASTags for Electronic Toll Collection (ETC) project.

The mobile apps will ease the process, making it possible to buy or recharge FASTags easier using mobile button. 

Key Facts

MyFASTag: It is a consumer application that will facilitate consumer to purchase or recharge FASTags on it. It also helps to keep track of transactions and provides for online grievance redressal.

FASTag Partner: It is a merchant application. It will allow agencies like Common Services Centre (CSC), banking partners and vehicle dealers to sell and enroll FASTag . In addition, it can be also used to activate dormant RFID tags built in 74 lakh cars in the country following the 2013 Gazette Notification in this regard. This application will aid to convert these RFID tags into FASTag (ETC Tag).

Background

NHAI has announced complete rollout of FASTags for ETC on all 371 NHAI toll plazas from 1 September 2017. One lane in every toll plaza will be a dedicated FASTag lane where no other form of payment will be accepted. In order to enable the availability of FASTags for ETC, NHAI has taken two steps in consultation with Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI). They are online and offline sale of sale of FASTags through Common Services Centre (CSC) near toll plazas. Even FASTags can now be purchased online from Issuer Banks websites, NHAI website and will be delivered by courier at the door step of the purchaser.

Electronic Toll Collection (ETC)

It is electronic payment system on highway tolls that does not have human involvement. ETC systems use vehicle-to-roadside communication technologies to perform an electronic monetary transaction between vehicle and toll collection agency. It aims to make travel more convenient, faster and environment friendly for people.

FASTags

FASTag is a radio frequency identification device that enables cashless transaction at toll plazas without stopping the vehicle at the toll plazas. It employs RFID technology for making toll payments directly from the pre-paid account linked to it. This system aims to remove logistic inefficiencies at toll plazas and has the potential of saving Rs 60,000 crore in terms of time and fuel bills.

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Cabinet approves raising Rs. 9020 crore for Long Term Irrigation Fund

The Union Cabinet gave its approval for raising Extra Budgetary Resources of up to Rs, 9,020 crore for Long Term Irrigation Fund (LTIF) during the financial year 2017-18.

The funds will be raised by the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) through the issuance of Bonds at 6% per annum as per requirement. 

Utilization of Funds

The LTIF will be for the implementation of Accelerated Irrigation Benefits Programme (AIBP) works of 99 ongoing prioritised irrigation projects along with their command area development (CAD) works under the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY).

Background

Large number of major and medium irrigation projects taken up under the AIBP were languishing mainly due to inadequate provision of funds. To cater to the large fund requirement and ensure completion of these projects, the Union Finance Minister in his Budget speech 2016-17, had announced creation of dedicated LTIF in NABARD with an initial corpus of Rs. 20,000 crore for funding identified ongoing projects under PMKSY (AIBP and CAD). The corpus of LTIF was to be raised through budgetary resources and market borrowings to fast track implementation of incomplete major & medium irrigation projects.

Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY)

PMKSY has been formulated amalgamating ongoing schemes viz. AIBP, Integrated Watershed Management Programme (IWMP) and On Farm Water Management (OFWM) component of National Mission on Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA). It is implemented by Ministries of Agriculture, Water Resources and Rural Development.

Objectives of PMKSY: (i) Achieve convergence of investments in irrigation at the field level, (ii) Expand cultivable area under assured irrigation (har khet ko pani), (iii) Enhance the adoption of precision-irrigation and other water saving technologies (More crop per drop), (iv) Improve on-farm water use efficiency to reduce wastage of water, (v) Enhance recharge of aquifers and (vi) Introduce sustainable water conservation practices.

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