In order to restructure the operations of its departments, the Government of India has been leaving no stone unturned. The nature of the work underwent rampant changes due to the infusion of advanced technologies in all the departments of GOI. The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) with its tech-driven operations is proving that it is no less than other departments when it comes to using technology. The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), which is an autonomous body under MoRTH, has set up a division named Highway operations division for which Mr Akhilesh Srivastava is the current chairman.
Mr Srivastava, who is referred as Tech-Savvy Bureaucrat, has been leading the Highway operations division with his experience and knowledge on tech-related aspects. Under his astute leadership, the NHAI has paved ways for different efficient and efficacious technologies to reshape the functioning of Highway sector.
Being a CGM of Highway operations and IT wing of NHAI, Mr Akhilesh Srivastava, has guided the FASTag project, which is first of its kind in India, with his excellent project executing skills. Till date, many of the NHAI’s Toll Plazas have undergone this technological transition and a few of them are in the final stages. The Government of India has already mandated FASTags for every new vehicle purchased after November 2017 and also it asked the NHAI to develop at least one dedicated FASTag lane on either side of Toll Plaza.
FASTag project, which is also known as Electronic Toll Collection (ETC) system, is aimed at decongesting the Toll Plazas, which let commuters enjoy seamless travel on national highways. FASTags work on Radio Frequency Identification Technology, which is not new to the world. But its utility aspects are yet to be tapped. The NHAI has started off using one of the RFID applications in the FASTag project.
Commuters need to purchase FASTags, which are unique, and link them to their respective bank accounts. Then the FASTag, which was already linked with the bank account, should be pasted on a vehicle’s windscreen. When a FASTagged vehicle cross through the Toll Plaza, which is already FASTag enabled, then the reader at the Toll Plaza detect the vehicle and deduct the Toll without any human intervention. This is the one thing that makes this FASTag Toll collection system so special in the Indian context.
The FASTag Toll collection system has already started reaping benefits for both commuters and truckers. When the traffic dynamics are inducing inflation in the market, this system, which is enabling hinder-less journeys to commuters and truckers, is wiping such negative changes and benefiting the Indian public in different dimensions.
Apart from commuters and truckers, the FASTag Toll collection system is helping the NHAI realize unnoticeable (for general public) benefits in the form of data. The Toll management system at each Toll Plaza can store the data pertaining to the commuters’ traffic. The NHAI can use this data in successful completion of its future projects in a targeted and precise way. Mr Srivastava did unprecedented tasks in accomplishing this prestigious FASTag project.