A few days after Union Minister Nitin Gadkari announced that FASTag would be mandatory for all cars from January 1, reports now suggest that the government is most likely to extend the deadline by at least a month.
Reports citing sources close to the matter suggest that the extension comes on the back of a large number of commuters who have still not issued FASTag. Currently, the share of transactions by FASTag lanes is hovering around 75 and 78 percent.
FASTag was launched in 2016 and four banks together issued nearly a lakh of them. The numbers went up to seven lakh and more than 34 lakh FASTags were issued in 2018. In November this year, the ministry issued a notification also making FASTag mandatory from January 1, 2021 for old vehicles or that were sold before December 1, 2017.
As per the Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989, since December 1, 2017, FASTag had been made mandatory for registration of new four-wheelers. It was also mandated that the renewal of fitness certificate of a transport vehicle will be done only after the vehicle concerned has a FASTag.
For National Permit vehicles, the fitment of FASTag was mandated since October 1, 2019. A valid FASTag would be made compulsory for getting a new third party insurance. This would come into force from April 1, 2021.
The ministry said that steps for ensuring availability of FASTag through multiple channels are being taken. They would be available at physical locations as well as online, The National Toll Collection (NETC) programme has been implemented on a pan-India basis in order to remove bottlenecks and ensure seamless movement of traffic and collection of user fee as per the notified rates using passive Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology.