From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Fastag
Mains level : RFID technology
From January 1, all lanes of National Highways will accept only electronic payments through FASTag.
Fastags work on a unique technology called RFID (Radio Frequency Identification). This has gone unnoticed in several competitive exams. Hence it is still relevant for the aspirants.
- As per Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989, since 1st December 2017, the FASTag had been made mandatory for all registered new four-wheelers and is being supplied by the Vehicle Manufacturer or their dealers.
- It has been mandated that the renewal of fitness certificate will be done only after the fitment of FASTag.
- For National Permit Vehicles, the fitment of FASTag was mandated since 1st October 2019.
What is ‘FASTag’?
- FASTags are stickers that are affixed to the windscreen of vehicles and use Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology to enable digital, contactless payment of tolls without having to stop at toll gates.
- The tags are linked to bank accounts and other payment methods.
- As a car crosses a toll plaza, the amount is automatically deducted, and a notification is sent to the registered mobile phone number.
How does it work?
- 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.
- 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.