Cashless Economy Current Affairs

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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PM launches cashless/less cash township models across 12 states

Prime Minister has launched 81 cashless/less cash townships across 12 states in Nagpur. The 81 townships included 56 in Gujarat and 25 in 11 states including Delhi, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Bihar and Chhatisgarh. The model of cashless/less cash township was developed by Gujarat Narmada Valley Fertilizers and Chemicals Ltd (GNFC) across these States under the auspices of National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog.

GNFC’s township at Bharuch (Gujarat) had become India’s first 100% cashless township after demonetization. It is expected that these 81 townships will deliver 2.5 lakh cashless transactions per day, translating into 9 crore cashless transactions in a year.

Cashless townships

The townships for adopting GNFC’s model were selected based on a third-party assessment by Price Waterhouse Coopers (PwC). The chosen 81 townships belonged to that of central public sector companies such as ONGC, Indian Oil, NTPC, SAIL, BHEL, NMDC, CRPF, BSF and Police Lines and also to private sector townships like Reliance, Essar, Adani, Birla Aditya, Welspun etc.

Criteria

The criteria for qualification of a township to a less cash township are: townships must have completed the payment acceptance infrastructure; all the families residing in the townships must have been covered under training programmes; 80% of total transactions during the review period should have been done through digital modes.

NITI Aayog has appreciated GNFC’s model and had advised Central ministries and CMDs of 300-plus central PSUs for quickly adopting to this model.

Significance

As per the study conducted by PWC on GNFC’s cashless initiative, following benefits have been identified:

  • It resulted in financial inclusion, cashlessness as a lifestyle, better parental control over child’s expenses, women’s empowerment, more convenience in performing transactions and social upliftment.
  • Over 96% of farmers during the assessment reported cost savings resulting from fewer trips to fertiliser shops and discounts on cashless transactions. They have also reported better money management.

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