Centre on Friday extended the FASTag rollout deadline from December 1 to December 15 so that citizens get more time to obtain FASTags before they become mandatory for crossing tolls on highways.
FASTags are prepaid rechargeable tags developed by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) under the National Electronic Toll Collection (NETC) program to meet the electronic tolling requirements in India. It needs to be affixed on the windscreen of the vehicle for toll collection. The RFID-powered technology enables automatic toll payments when the vehicle passes through a NETC-supported gate or ETC lane on a toll plaza.
Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari announced last month that FASTag will become mandatory for all vehicles effective December 1, 2019 (now December 15), after which vehicles running without the FASTag will be charged twice the normal rate at the toll gates.
How FASTag works
The device employs Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology for payments directly from the prepaid or savings account linked to it. It is affixed on the windscreen, so the vehicle can drive through plazas without stopping.
The RFID technology is similar to that used in transport access-control systems, like Metro smart card.
If the tag is linked to a prepaid account like a wallet, or a debit/credit card, then owners need to recharge/top up the tag. If it is linked to a savings account, then money will get deducted automatically after the balance goes below a pre-defined threshold. Once a vehicle crosses the toll, the owner will get an SMS alert on the deduction. In that, it is like a prepaid e-wallet.
A FASTag is valid for a tenure of five years, and can be recharged as and when required.
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