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From Traffic Jams to Satellite Scans: India to launch GPS Toll Collection, While Chasing KYC Compliance

In a move that could make science fiction fans nod in approval, the Indian government is taking a giant leap towards futuristic toll collection methods. The initiative, spearheaded by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), involves the introduction of a Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) based Electronic Toll Collection (ETC) system. This high-tech system, initially set for trial runs on selected sections of National Highways, promises a barrier-free, seamless flow of traffic, bidding adieu to the traditional toll booths.

In an amusing twist, while the government sets its sights on the stars with satellite-based tolling, it’s also grappling with more earthly concerns: ensuring every vehicle’s Fastag is linked with up-to-date ‘Know Your Customer’ (KYC) information. The NHAI is on a mission to make the Fastag system 100% KYC compliant, with a stern warning that tags with incomplete KYC could be blacklisted post-February 29, 2024. This comes after the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) had already set a deadline for KYC completion, which, in a plot twist, didn’t see full compliance.

Adding to the intrigue, instances of Fastag fraud—where tags assigned to one vehicle are sneakily used on another—have prompted the NHAI to enforce a “One Vehicle One Fastag” rule. This initiative not only aims to cut down on unauthorized toll deductions but also to streamline the entire toll collection process, making it more efficient, reliable, and less prone to misuse.

The RBI’s guidelines are the rulebook guiding this transition, requiring all prepaid payment instruments like Fastag to be fully KYC compliant. With periodic updates required based on the risk level of customers, the NHAI’s push for compliance is not just about keeping the wheels of bureaucracy turning; it’s about paving the way for a smoother, more accountable toll collection system.

As the Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways, Nitin Gadkari, shared these details in a written reply to the Lok Sabha, one can’t help but marvel at the juxtaposition of cutting-edge satellite technology and the bureaucratic hustle to keep KYC records straight. India’s road to futuristic tolling is lined with satellites and paperwork, showcasing a unique blend of innovation and governance.

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