FASTag is a prepaid rechargeable tag for collection of tolls that permit automatic toll fees deduction. As it is operated by the NHAI (National Highway Authority of India), it is also addressed by the term NHAI FASTag by many locals.
National Highway FASTag is laced with the RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) technology, which is usually affixed on the vehicle’s windscreen. With its help, you do not need to stop your car at the toll plaza for toll payment. Toll charges on crossing the toll plaza automatically gets deducted from your account or prepaid wallet attached with the FASTag affixed on your car’s windscreen. Also, it does not have any expiry date i.e., it can be used for as long as it is readable at the toll booth.
To apply for FASTag, you simply need to go online and select amongst different banks and online portals offering this electronic toll payment service. Once you have selected your platform, keep a few common documents like your passport size photograph, vehicle’s registration certificate and KYC documents handy to buy FASTag service without any hassle. Alternatively, you can also buy FASTag at a certain toll plaza by producing vehicle registration and identification documents.
What are the important benefits of using FASTag?
- Ease of making payment – With its aid, you do not need to stop at the tollbooth to make transactions.
- Ease of recharge – You can recharge your FASTag through online banking, credit card or debit card.
- SMS alerts – You can receive all SMS alerts to your registered number for all your FASTag transactions.
- Incentives in the form of cash backs – You may get cash back on paying toll fee through FASTag.
- Online portal access – Through the FASTag online portal, you can easily access all your statements.
FASTag implementation status in India
While introduced in the year 2016, FASTag was made compulsory on 15th February 2021 midnight. It was made mandatory to promote toll fee payment via the digital route, lower fuel consumption and waiting time and cater seamless passage through the toll plaza. Any vehicle without FASTag or without any valid FASTag entering the FASTag lane are deemed to be charged twice the toll at the toll booth, as per NH Fee Rules 2008. Those exempted from paying the toll fee, such as ministers, judges, top bureaucrats, lawmakers, emergency service workers, military officers, do not need to buy FASTag.
Moreover, with effect from 1st January 2021, government integrated FASTag with e waybill. It made it mandatory for the transporter to have the RFID tag affixed in their vehicle. Also, all the details of e waybill generated for the goods being carried by vehicle are necessary to be uploaded in the RFID. At the time when the vehicle passes the highway through the RFID tag, the details are transferred into the system, which gets uploaded on the Indian government portal. This information is later used by revenue officers to review the supplies by the GST registered individual.
How will FASTag integration with e waybill impact the Indian road freight industry?
E waybill integration with FASTag will ameliorate the operational efficiencies. This means it will become easier to track movement of products/goods through SMS alerts at every tollbooth. It will also guarantee faster delivery as well as complete estimation about vehicle movement towards predetermined destinations.
FASTag is not a new concept. A similar system has been prevalent for years in many developed countries. However, as India moves towards digitization and steadily embraces a cash free economy, the NHAI FASTag is a good step in the right direction, which is a win-win for everyone.