FASTag And Zero Contact

FASTag And Zero Contact

Amidst increased emphasis on social distancing due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Indian government recently strengthened the implementation of FASTag on highways, with several benefits for both the drivers and the toll system.

Crux of the Matter

FASTag Mandatory
The government of India recently made FASTag details compulsory for the registration of vehicles and the issuing of the “fitness” certificates.

The government also declared the integration of the National Electronic Toll Collection (NETC) with the VAHAN portal, which would enable the latter system to obtain required information from FASTags through the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) and the Vehicle Registration Number (VRN).

What Is FASTag?
FASTag is a type of tag fixed on the windscreen of vehicles. First introduced in 2014, it enables automatic toll collection at the toll plazas on highways using the Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology. As it would be linked to a prepaid account, the tag would remove the need to stop at plazas and make cash transactions. FASTags have a validity of 5 years while having a one-time fee of ₹200.

Implementation And Benefits
The fitting of FASTag was made mandatory for vehicles sold 2017 onward. However, several users avoided linking it to the bank or the activation process. In July 2020, the government made furnishing FASTag details compulsory for vehicle registration and fitness certificates.

1.68 crore FASTags have been issued since May, while several toll plazas have started charging double the charges for drivers entering the FASTag lane without the tag or having an invalid one. Currently, the system is active at 650+ toll plazas across the country.


  • Increase in cashless transactions.
  • No need to carry changes for the toll.
  • Reduction in pollution and congestion around the plaza.
  • Time and fuel saving as stopping at the plazas would not be required.

VAHAN is a national registry system for vehicles, having centralized and computerized data. The system allows access to details like registration number, body/fuel type, chassis/engine number, colour, manufacturer and model, etc.

As the data is centralized, accessibility for police and enforcement agencies will increase. The system also provides an online method for major RTO transactions and processes, including the change of address, renewal and issuing of permits, registration certificates, etc.

mParivahan is an app for storing important vehicle documents like driving license, insurance certificate, etc. The system also facilitates challans on-road, and eases online payment of dues.

Punjab government recently launched e-Challan system, which facilitates “issuance of traffic challans, on-spot cashless payment, real-time access of Vahan & Sarathi database and integration with DigiLocker and mParivahan apps”.

  • The barcode was invented by Norman Joseph Woodland and Bernard Silver and patented in the US in 1951. The invention was based on Morse code that was extended to thin and thick bars.
  • The QR code system was invented in 1994 by Masahiro Hara from the Japanese company Denso Wave. Its purpose was to track vehicles during manufacturing; it was designed to allow high-speed component scanning. QR codes are now used in a much broader context.
  • In 2014, the world RFID market was worth $8.89 billion, up from $7.77 billion in 2013 and $6.96 billion in 2012. The market value is expected to rise from $12.08bn in 2020 to $16.23 billion by 2029.