FASTags were introduced for easier inter-city travels as the tag allowed automated payments of toll tax at every toll plaza. Though the Government promoted the use of FASTags and also made them mandatory in certain cases, many vehicle owners ignored them. However, in a recent draft issued by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, dated 1st September, the Government has stated its intent on making FASTags compulsory for vehicles. But before we get into the new proposal, let’s have a quick understanding of what a FASTag is.
What is a FASTag?
A FASTags is a prepaid tag which is affixed on the windshield of vehicles. The tag is either brought through a bank or a mobile wallet and is linked with the same. Once you recharge the FASTag, it would contain a balance, much like your mobile wallet. Thereafter, whenever you cross any toll plaza, the FASTag would be scanned and the applicable toll would be deducted from the balance in the FASTag. You can recharge the FASTag any time and with any amount and the tag is valid lifetime. Every vehicle needs an independent FASTag. The FASTag allows you to drive conveniently without having to wait in queue for the payment of the toll tax.
What were the earlier rules on FASTags?
After FASTags were introduced, the Government made them mandatory for four-wheelers for the purpose of registration. This mandate became effective from 2017. The Government asked the vehicle manufacturers or their dealers to supply new vehicle owners with the required FASTags. Moreover, for transport vehicles which renewed their fitness certificates, the renewals were allowed only after the vehicles had FASTags fitted on them. For National Permit Vehicles, FASTags were made mandatory since 1st October 2019.
What changes does the Government want?
In the circular issued by the Ministry, the following changes were proposed by the Government to promote FASTag usage –
- FASTags would become necessary for new vehicles when they buy a third party insurance policy. This mandate would be effective from 1st April 2021. The details of the FASTag would be recorded in the third party insurance policy
- From 1st January 2021, FASTags would be made mandatory for vehicles sold before December 2017
What it means for you?
If you are planning to buy a new vehicle in the next financial year, you would have to opt for the FASTag in order to get the vehicle insured once the rule is passed. Moreover, for vehicle owners who have bought their vehicles before 2017, having a FASTag would become necessary. Both these changes would have a positive impact on you especially when you are travelling inter-city. Payment of toll tax would become easier and you wouldn’t even have to carry the required tax in cash.
The Government has introduced this rule, which is still pending confirmation, to ease the traffic flow on highways and to ensure that the payment of toll tax is not avoided. Once the proposed changes become the rule, travel would become easier and convenient. You should, however, fit your vehicle with a FASTag whether or not the proposed changes become a rule for your own convenience.