FASTag: A digital initiative

Since the inception of digitization, there has been tremendous increase in digital transaction and communication. If we look ten years back, we have come a long way since then. The  government has launched various initiatives, such that every activity in the country is transparent. Why is it necessary? I feel that transparency is necessary in order to minimize corruption which is a significant factor in slowing the economy. A digital platform comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages but it is on individuals to decide which side of  the coin to flip.

One of the initiatives that government has launched is of Fastag, which in layman’s language is an electronically generated tag that contains all the information of the driver and a virtual account containing amount from which toll is deducted as soon as one passes a toll plaza. The tag employs Radio-frequency Identification (RFID) technology and is affixed on the vehicle's windscreen after the tag is activated.   FASTag is a perfect solution for a hassle free travel on national highways. The most significant advantage that it adds is that now there is no more waiting in long queues as vehicles used to do earlier. This initiative has also bought transparency in the system as every transactions information is stored  in the database. Thus it can be tracked and also reduces the burden of carrying cash. 

The initiative is being promoted widely and from 15th January 2020, it has become mandatory to have one. If one fails to have, he has to pay twice the toll. FASTags are being issued by 22 certified banks through various channels such as Point-of-Sale (POS) at National Highway toll plazas or branch visits. They are also available on e-commerce platforms like Amazon. 

FASTags can be recharged through Credit Card/ Debit Card/ NEFT/Net Banking and also through Paytm/PhonePe wallets. The cheaper data rates and ease of access to internet has made the process hassle-free. The initiative is expected to reach every corner of the nation and promote digital transaction. It is easier for urban people to gain experience of digital transaction as almost every day, an average household transact digitally, be it for purchase purposes on E-commerce website, payment of bills on various platforms, booking railway/flight tickets or even online filling of different forms. Banks also nowadays encourage transacting digitally with respective bank apps in place. It we look at a middle class family, at least one member handles the finances of respective household, even with negligible understanding of performing transaction virtually, he has to get accustomed with it, as now a days banks operate digitally. Even in rural areas, with government initiatives,  farmers have been encouraged to transact digitally on a day to day basis. 

As a  student of Calcutta Business School, I feel that concepts like “Digital India” and “Smart Cities” will be boosted with online payment of tolls  through FASTags and other digital initiatives.

Shalini Singh 

PGDM  Batch 2019-2021