Interoperable ETC system of 10 toll plazas between Mumbai (Charoti) and Ahmadabad pilot project has been tested and found to be successful in operation. Central Government has now made incorporation of ETC lanes a mandatory clause in Highway projects in future. ETC systems will be included via a supplementary agreement in projects yet to be begun.
For ETC implementation, a new Company, Indian Highways Management Company Limited under Company`s Act 1956, with equity participation from NHAI (25%), Concessionaires (50%) and Financial Institutions (25%) has been constituted.
Company objectives are toll collection through Electronic Toll Collection (ETC) system, and strategic, administrative, legal, technical and commercial project management, providing central ETC system services like toll transaction clearing house operations, helpdesk support and call centres for incident management, and intelligent transport systems among others.
Amendments have been made to the Central Motor Vehicle Rules 1989 for fitment of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tag on vehicles for ETC. In addition to Rs. 2.48 crore released in FY2012-13, Rs.17.288 crore has been released through FY2013-14 to implement ETC on 51 public funded projects operated by NHAI.
Government is building India’s highway network through phases of National Highways Development Project (NHDP) financed largely through user fees collected by users using improved highways. National Highways require regular maintenance and upgradation possible through fund mobilisation, and necessitates highway toll collection made possible by making a vehicle pass through a toll plaza.
Toll for National Highways is levied as per National Highway Fee (Determination of Rates and Collection) Rules, 2008 and its amendments. Projects completed and agreements/contracts signed before 5th December 2008, National Highways (Rate of Fee) Rules, 1997 apply. User fee (toll) is collected as per Section 7 notifications of National Highways Act, 1956.
Existing toll collection problems in India include not having a standard rate across sections of National Highways in India. BOT (Toll), BOT (Annuity) and Public Funded Projects use different toll collecting agencies, which hampers uniform acceptable standard of service to commuters, and complaints of overcharging and undercharging arise. Non-reporting/under-reporting of toll collected by agents is a problem. Congestion and crowding of vehicles at toll booths leads to fuel and time wastage.
To do away with shortcomings, an Electronic Toll Collection technology committee was formed for use on National Highways under the chairmanship of Nandan Nilekani, Chairman, Unique Identification Authority of India. The Committee examined available technologies for ETC and recommended most suitable tech for local conditions. Based on user convenience, rate of acceptance and ease of implementation, passive Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) based on EPC, Gen-2, ISO 18000-6C Standards has been adopted by Indian Government.