New vehicles to have digital tags for paying toll

New Delhi, Nov 23 (IANS) Going by the experience post-demonetisation of high-denomination currency notes, the government has asked automobile-makers to provide a digital identity tag in all new vehicles to enable electronic payment at highway toll plazas.

“As far as toll plazas are concerned, the Ministry of Road, Transport and Highways is advising vehicle manufacturers that in all new vehicles, the manufacturers must provide Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) facility,” Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das told reporters here on Wednesday.

The RFID tag ensures that vehicles pass the electronic toll collection booth without stopping as the toll amount is deducted from the RFID card.

Das said the RFID facility in all new vehicles will ensure payment of toll digitally and also curtail the waiting time at check-posts.

“Digital payments will improve the functioning of toll plazas,” he said.

The Secretary also said that all government offices have been asked to make payments to stakeholders, contractors and employees only via digital mode.

“Government organisations, PSUs and other government authorities have been advised to use only digital payment methods, such as internet banking, unified payment interface, cards and Aadhar-enabled payment systems, among others, to make payments to all stakeholders and their employees,” he said.

“In other words, the option of digital payments to private parties will be mandatorily provided. All these measures are meant to promote digital penetration. It will help farmers in current Rabi season to ensure normal Rabi crops on the back of a good monsoon,” he added.

In view of the cash crunch following demonetisation, the government has exempted all national highways from toll payment until November 24.

The government has also announced incentives, including waiver of certain service charges until December-end to help promote electronic payments.

Das said that following the National Payments Corporation of India waiving “switching charges” until December 31 to ensure greater usage of RuPay cards, banks and service providers have agreed to waive the service charge on use of debit cards till the year-end.

“This will ensure greater penetration of digital transactions. Banks will soon issue their own circulars in this regard,” he said.