Back in the day, we had long, long queues at a toll plaza. Patiently waiting for the file to crawl ahead, and then sliding the windows down, giving in cash, taking the change and the receipt back, counting the change and then driving off. To cut down on this time, the Union Government planned and introduced the FASTag system so as to make the payment on the go, without stopping, hence saving time, fuel and those atrociously long queues.
Earlier the deadline to comply with the mandatory FASTag and do away completely with cash was the 1st day of January 2021. Now, according to the recently released update by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, Government of India, the deadline is extended by 66 days and the new deadline is 15th of February 2021.
FASTag today is mandatory for vehicles registered after the 1st day of December 2017, according to the amendment of Central Motor Vehicles Act, 1989 and the FAStag is supplied by the vehicle manufacturer of the dealership itself.
The Govt has also made it mandatory to possess a valid FASTag for the renewal of the fitness certificate for the transport vehicles. Furthermore, from the 1st of April 2021, possession of a valid FASTag is also mandatory for acquiring new third party insurance via an amendment in FORM 51 which is nothing but the certificate of Insurance itself, in which the details of the FASTag and its ID will be captured.
These moves are intended to encourage people to shift to FASTag over cash transaction. Currently, the FASTag contributes as a mode of transaction in 75-80% for the total collection and the rest is via Cash. Also, to further discourage cash transactions, only one lane out of all available is allowed to accept cash. The rest can only be crossed via a FASTag transaction.
Although the shift to go cashless is gaining impetus, various citizens have faced issues and have complained about the lack of proper infrastructure to ensure the smooth flow as proposed by the Govt. “Cash is a legal mode of transaction and none can be denied from paying in cash. Hence, the best option would be strict enforcement of the Motor Vehicle Rule, which has made valid FASTag mandatory,” an official aware about the development said.