FASTag Current Affairs
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A memorandum of understanding (MoU) has been signed between Indian Highways Management Company Limited (IMHCL) and leading Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) like BPCL, HPCL and IOCL for sale of FASTags through their petrol pumps.
FASTag is an electronic toll collection system operated by the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI). FASTag enables automatic deduction of toll charges and lets you pass through the toll plaza without stopping for the cash transaction.
FASTags are linked to a prepaid account from which the applicable toll amount is deducted automatically. FASTag employs Radio-frequency Identification (RFID) technology.
Features of the FASTag
The features of the FASTag are:
- FASTag is bank neutral and can be linked to customers’ choice of bank accounts.
- Together with providing flexibility and convenience to the users, FASTag is also user-friendly as there will be no requirement of fulfilling KYC obligations.
- FASTag apps provide provides real-time recharge of any FASTag through UPI by linking customer’s bank account with IHMCL FASTags.
There are plans to expand the FASTag to allow purchasing fuel at petrol pumps in future.
Radio-frequency Identification (RFID) technology
Radio-frequency Identification (RFID) technology uses electromagnetic fields to automatically identify and track tags which are containing electronically-stored information.
A two-way radio transmitter-receivers called interrogators or readers send a signal to the tag and read its response. The RFID reader transmits an encoded radio signal to interrogate the tag. The tag receives the message and then responds with its identification and other information.
The Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has issued notification to make FASTag mandatory for all new four-wheelers from December 1, 2017.
The notification follows amendment to Central Motor Vehicle (CMV) Rules, 1989 made by central government as per powers vested in it under Motor Vehicles Act, 1989.
The notification explained that FASTag means an onboard unit (transponder) or any such device fitted on front windscreen on vehicle. It should be fixed on front windscreens by automobile manufacturers or authorised dealers. In case of any vehicle which is sold in form of drive-away-chassis without windscreen, FASTags shall be fitted by vehicle owner before registration of such vehicles. The tag can be purchased from tag issuers and after it is linked to prepaid account then vehicle owner is required to recharge or top up tag as per requirement.
FASTag is device that employs Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology for making toll payments directly from prepaid or savings account linked to it. It is affixed on the windscreen of vehicle and enables the commuter to drive through toll plazas, without stopping for cash transactions.
The tag on windshield will be read by readers fitted in dedicated Electronic Toll Collection (ETC) lanes of toll plazas after vehicles passes through toll plazas. The user will receive SMS alerts for toll transactions, low balance and all other developments.
FASTag has a validity of five years and after purchasing it only needs to recharge or top up as per the requirement. Its major advantages of include no need to carry cash for the toll transactions, time-saving, near non-stop movement of vehicles leading to lower fuel cost among others
Presently, FASTag is operational at about 370 toll plazas across National Highways. The system is inter-operable and same FASTag can be used across all toll plazas under National Electronic Toll Collection (NETC) programme.