The government made FASTags mandatory from February 15 and now it is looking to make GPS mandatory for all cars. Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari during the Lok Sabha Question Hour said that “I want to assure the House that within one year all physical toll booths in the country will be removed. It means that toll collection will happen via GPS. The money will be collected based on GPS imaging.” Also Read - FASTag recharge online: How to recharge FASTag via PhonePe, 10 easy steps
If the government makes GPS tracking mandatory for cars, it will help it do away with all toll booths. This will be done with the help of GPS-based FASTags, which will come fitted in all new vehicles. The government has said that it will be providing all old vehicle owners with free GPS-based FASTags. Apart from the removal of toll booths, GPS-based FASTags will also allow the government to have real-time surveillance of all cars on Indian roads. Also Read - Apple iPhone 12 likely to support BeiDou navigation system
It is currently unknown how the government plans to deploy GPS tracking. This could be done by low power GPS tags installed inside of FASTags, which are detected by sensors or with the help of an approved GPS module fitted in the car. Whatever route the government decides to take, this will be an expensive ordeal, considering the cost of GPS modules. Also Read - FASTag is now free until February 29, NHAI waves off charges for 15 days
Gadkari has said that the reason behind GPS tracking is that there are multiple cases of toll theft and GST evasion when FASTags are not fitted in vehicles. With the introduction of GPS trackers in four-wheelers, it will help the government track all the defaulters. As of now, around 7 percent of people have not adopted the FASTag system and continue to pay double the toll.
The plans for the GPS-based toll system were elaborated on by Gadkari in reply to a question from a BSP MP Danish Ali, who said that the toll booths in Ganamukteshwar in Hapur district were at 40km intervals while the norm for toll booth intervals on national highways is 60km. Gadkari responded by stating, “I know in some places there are too many toll booths. It’s wrong and unfair. We have decided to get rid of them.”
While many cars currently have factory GPS modules installed, none of the data is shared with the government on a real-time basis. However, in some cases, the government agencies may request the GPS service providers access to data for special cases.