The Ministry of Road Transport and Highway (MoRTH) has extended the deadline for FASTags to be mandatory on all four-wheelers and commercial vehicles for the purpose of toll collection on National Highways. The original deadline was January 1, 2021, but it has now been extended till February 15, 2021. Under the original deadline for FASTags, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) would have had to completely switch over to FASTag payment at toll plazas from today.
That would mean that FASTags have would to be retrofitted on all vehicles plying on National Highways. At present, FASTags make up about 75-80% of all transaction made made at National Highway toll plazas. In a statement to the NHAI, the ministry said that the highways authority can obtain the needed regulatory requirement for ensuring 100% cashless toll collection from February 15 onwards.
As was the rule when FASTags were originally announced, all lanes at toll plazas will be solely dedicated to FASTag payments while just one lane on each side will accept cash transactions. However, travelers will be liable to pay double the amount for using the non-FASTag lane in order to discourage cash transactions. The government hopes that the higher than usual fee will urge all travelers to adopt FASTags for smoother traffic flow at toll plazas and also save fuel in vehicles.
The government made FASTags mandatory for all four-wheelers and commercial vehicles to promote digital payment for toll collection. When the rule was introduced, FASTags were compulsory for all new vehicles sold after December 1, 2017. That means all cars sold after December 1, 2017, had to be retrofitted with the tags by either the manufacturer or at the dealer level, before being delivered to the customer. The government has now made it mandatory for all vehicles sold before December 1, 2017 as well.
The Central Motor Vehicle Rules, 1989 have also been amended for the same. An updated notification from MoRTH also revealed that FASTags will be mandatory while getting a third party vehicle insurance and shall be applicable with effect from April 1, 2021.