Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has notified draft amendments to the Central Motor Vehicles Rules, making FASTags and Vehicle Tracking System device mandatory for all commercial vehicles obtaining a national permit. The front windscreen of the vehicle will have to be affixed with a sticker confirming fitting of the Fastag.
The draft amendments also stipulate other additional conditions for obtaining the national permit that include the display of the words “National Permit or N/P” in the front and rear of the vehicles in bold letters. In case of trailers, the words “N/P” will have to be inscribed on the rear and left side of the vehicle. The body of a tanker carrying dangerous or hazardous goods has to be painted in white color and display the prescribed class label on both the sides and rear of the tanker. The vehicle will be affixed with reflective tapes at front and rear.
The proposed amendment also provides that no fitness certification shall be required at the time of registration for new transport vehicles sold as fully built vehicles. Such vehicles will be deemed to be having the certificate of fitness for a period of two years from the date of registration. It has also been proposed that fitness certificate of transport vehicles will be renewed for a period of two years for vehicles up to eight years old and for one year for vehicles older than eight years.
The proposed amendment also provides that Driving License and Pollution Under Control certificates can be carried in physical or digital form.
What is FASTag?
It is a device that uses Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology for making toll payments directly from the prepaid account linked to it.
It is affixed on the windscreen of the vehicle and enables to drive through toll plazas without waiting.
The tag has a validity of 5 years and after purchase, it only needs to be recharged or topped up. The service is applicable to all kinds of vehicles but the use of the service is currently voluntary.
It helps quicken passage through toll barriers and helps avoid the use of cash. Long queues of vehicles waiting while cumbersome cash transactions happen at the counter can be avoided. Here, it helps reduce the use of fuel and pollution due to high waiting-times at the barriers.
It can also help the government identify the quantum of road use and types of vehicles passing through, aiding budgets for road widening and other infrastructure expenses. Theoretically, it could help increase accruals to the government as some operators managing toll plazas have, in the past, have been suspected of under-reporting their revenues.