Smart cards for highway tolls mandatory for all vehicles: Nath

Highways and Road Transport Minister Kamal Nath on Wednesday said it would be mandatory for all vehicles to have a prepaid chip for toll payments within eighteen months.

Nath, while addressing the annual conference of Economic Editors in national capital New Delhi, said the prepaid Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) cards are like mobile phone chips, which would be installed in every vehicle.

"In around 18 months it will be implemented. We will make it mandatory for all the vehicles that the RFID card would be installed at the time of manufacturing. This would cost around 70 rupees. It is not a very big expense. So, we are talking terms with all the manufacturers," said Nath.

He added that it is safe, and would be made mandatory for old vehicles as well.

The RFID cards communicate via electromagnetic waves to exchange data. The technology is generally used for identification and tracking purposes but can be used on any thing, even an animal or person.

Talking of his ministry's achievements, Nath said they have built about 9,923 kilometres of road from October 2009 to September 2010.

"I am happy to announce that between September, between October 2009, from June, we started working, from September, we started acting, and from October 2009 to September 2010, under various development programmes, we awarded 9,923 worth of roads," Nath added.

He added that the roads are going to be visible only after mobilization, though.

Nath also expressed his happiness with the increasing Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) in India.

"So much of Foreign Direct Investment is coming in. After all, we have closed, financial closure has taken place on 36,000 crore (Rs.360 billion), financial closure has taken place, out of which so much is in equity and so much is in debt. So, it is happening in a big way," said Nath.

Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission, had said on the first day of the conference on Tuesday (October 26) that the Indian government is in favour of allowing FDI in 'modern' retail. (ANI)

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