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Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister of Road Transport & Highways, recently announced that there will be no toll booths on any of the highways across India in 2 years time. It will be replaced by a GPS-based toll collection system, which will ensure a smoother and seamless flow of vehicles on the highways.
Speaking at the ASSOCHAM Foundation Week Programme, Nitin Gadkari stated that the new toll collection system has been cleared by the government and will be implemented across the country within the next two years.
The GPS-based toll collection system will be implemented in collaboration with the Russian government. The new system will deduct money directly from the vehicle owner's linked bank account, based on the movement of the vehicles.
Gadkari also stated that while all new passenger and commercial vehicles come standard with GPS technology, older vehicles don't. However, the government will address this and will come up with a way of installing GPS on these older vehicles as well.
According to the NHAI (National Highway Authority Of India), the new toll collection system will help attract a revenue of over Rs 1.34 trillion, within the first five years of it being rolled out. Gadkari confirmed that the new system has been tested & finalised and will start rolling out soon.
Currently, the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways (MoRTH) is pushing towards making FASTags mandatory on all cars, from January 2021. All new four-wheelers being introduced on Indian roads, already come equipped with the RFID tag, however, the government is pushing older vehicles to get the FASTag installed, before the start of the new year.
The FASTag is an RFID sticker positioned on the front windshield of cars. The tag is linked to the vehicle owners bank accounts, so when the car is passing through a toll booth, the toll amount automatically gets deducted.
The electronic payment method was introduced to ensure the reduction of long queues on the national highway tolls. It also allows a smoother movement of vehicles, while also significantly reducing travelling time.
Thoughts On The New GPS-Based Toll Collection System
The new method of toll collection could reduce travel time even further, by completely removing toll booths on the highways. With everything moving to digital now, this seems to be a great-step forward. However, more clarity on the system and how it works needs to be addressed.