A year back, in April 2016, Indian Govt. had launched India’s first ever e-toll system using Radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology, across 275 toll plazas.
Under this, no vehicle is required to physically stop at the toll, and pay the toll charges. RFID tags in the vehicles can be quickly scanned by the sensors at the toll plazas, and the amount would be deducted directly from the user’s account.
It was planned to make road travel faster.
However, after a year of its implementation, Govt. has realised that the usage and adoption of RFIDs haven’t been that widespread, as it was planned. And Govt. has understood the problem as well: RFIDs compatible with the new e-toll system.
All New Vehicles To Be Equipped With RFIDs From August
The problem is that existing vehicles are using outdated RFIDs, which cannot work with the new e-toll system incorporated across the toll plazas.
Around 73 lakh vehicles manufactured in the last two years carry outdated RFID tags, and this is stopping from wide scale usage of the new e-toll system.
Understanding this problem, Govt. has now ordered that starting August, every new vehicle would be required to be equipped with new RFIDs, called FasTags. As per the order from Road Transport Ministry, as soon as the vehicle would be only allowed to come out from the showroom, when the new RFIDs, compatible with the e-toll technology is pasted on the windshield.
Earlier, Govt. had planned October rollout of this diktat, but due to the push from PM Modi, the process has been officially announced from August.
Why This Confusion?
As per some officials, the confusion occurred due to lack of coordination between National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) and Transport Ministry.
Earlier, the tags which were provided by the automobile companies were not populated with the desired data, due to which it could not be used by the automobile users for electronically updating with required balance.
An official said, “Both the RFID tags installed by automobile manufacturers and the FastTags now being sold by six banks are technologically compatible. But the tags fixed by the automobile companies are virgin ones and there is no data. Hence, there is no option for top up or recharge. All these tags have to be assigned by an issuer bank, which has to give a specific serial number and then one can put advance cash in their tag..”
Only 4.6 FasTags have been sold till date, by the banks.
From now on, banks would provide these RFIDs to the automobile dealers, who will, in turn, fit them in the vehicles before rolling out from the showroom, thereby avoiding all confusion.