NHAI Current Affairs - 2020

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Union Cabinet authorises NHAI to set up Infrastructure Investment Trust

Union Cabinet approved the proposal of Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH), which authorizes National Highways Authority of India(NHAI) to set up Infrastructure Investment Trust(s) (InvIT) as per InvIT Guidelines issued by Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI). This will enable NHAI to monetize completed National Highways that have a toll collection track record of atleast 1 year and the NHAI reserves the right to levy toll on identified highway.

Implementation

NHAI’s InvIT will be established as a Trust, named as ‘InvIT Trust’. InvIT Trust will be under Indian Trust Act, 1882 and Securities and Exchange Board of India (Infrastructure Investment Trusts) Regulations, 2014. It will be formed with an objective of investment primarily in infrastructure projects (as defined by Union Ministry of Finance) and may hold assets either directly or through an Special Purpose Vehicles (SPV) or a holding.

Significance

Infrastructure Investment Trust(s) (InvIT) as an instrument provides greater flexibility to investors and is expected to create following opportunities-

  • It would generate specialized Operation and Maintenance (O&M) Concessionaires.
  • It would attract patient capital (for about 20-30 years) to Indian highway market, as these investors are unwilling towards construction risk and are interested in investment in assets which provide long-term stable returns.
  • Retail domestic savings and corpus of special institutions such as mutual funds, Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA), among others, will be invested in infrastructure sector through InvIT.

Background:

Roads and highways are the lifeline of the economy, therefore, development of National Highways has a multiplier effect in terms of facilitating trade and enhancing overall economic development of a region. In October 2017, Union Government launched its flagship highway development programme called Bharatmala Pariyojana, for development of 24,800 km of roads for a total investment of Rs. 5,35,000 crore.

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MoU for sale of FASTag

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

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.

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