The total number of FASTags issued by various agencies has crossed the 3 cr (30 mln) mark, minister Nitin Gadkari said today.
This represents about 15% of the estimated 200 mln or so vehicles who are eligible for using such tags.
FASTags are a form of RFID-based auto-debit mechanism being implemented across the country to smooth the collection of highway tolls.
The number of toll booths in India has risen sharply in the last 10-15 years as the central government decided that it is not possible to build and maintain a world class network of highways in India through tax revenue alone.
However, the proliferation of these toll booths led to considerable delays and wastage of petroleum resources as users awaited their turns at payment plazas.
The FASTag system was introduced more than three years ago as a voluntary facility given to passengers who did not want to wait in queues. However, the take-up of the system failed to meet expectations, forcing the government to make the system mandatory from Jan 1 this year.
Even though around 70% of the toll was getting collected in the electronic format by the end of December last year, India was considered less than ready for a complete phase-out of cash collection, and the deadline was extended to February 15.
The amount collected via FASTag has shown a sharp increase since it was made mandatory from Feb 16.
As of November last year, the average daily collection from FASTags across India was just Rs 20 cr.
This rose to about 60-70 cr as of February.
However, from March 1 to 16, said the minister, the average collection through FASTag has been more than 100 cr per day.
According to National Highway Fee (Determination of Rates and Collection) Rules, 2008, it has been made mandatory for users to pay double the fee if they have not fitted their vehicles with FASTags.