THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 02 December 2019 (Highway blues (Indian Express))

Highway blues (Indian Express)

Mains Paper 3: Science and Tech
Prelims level : FASTag
Mains level : Role of technology in transport sector


  • From December 1, motorists across the country can zip across national highways, no longer bothered with hunting for change at every toll booth, thanks to the NHAI’s FASTag.
  • Using Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), the tag will ensure that the toll is automatically deducted from a pre-paid account or a bank account connected to it. \
  • As they cruise unencumbered across India, travellers may lose in terms of experience what they will gain in speed and convenience.

Advantages of using FASTag:

  • Outside big cities and their satellite towns, the “toll plaza” is more than just a spot to collect money.
  • It around every window are the guards, official and unofficial, to ensure that nobody gets away without paying.
  • In case of jams and long lines, a slew of informal assistants to the money collector crop up, crowding around car windows to “pre-collect” the money to avoid congestion at the window.
  • Most important of all is the mini-economy that crops up at these points — sellers of suspiciously bottled water appear from nowhere as do vendors of cut kheera and the local, seasonal fruits. \
  • There are roasted peanuts and popcorn to be had as well, and in parts of North India, many varieties of “mashoor shikanji”. \
  • The only thing missing from the fair-ground atmosphere, unthinkingly defiant of the national narrative, are pakodas.\

Way ahead:

  • The collection of the under-employed and the small tradesman at the toll booth has been an anachronism for sometime now.
  • The FASTag is a technology whose time was here sometime ago, and in the larger scheme of things, objections to it on grounds of nostalgia will be understandably ignored. Or dismissed as being Luddite.
  • As they traverse the country, the big city folk ensconced in their air-conditioned cars will experience just a little less of the country. And, more often than not, a good shikanji is worth the wait.

    Online Coaching for UPSC PRE Exam

    General Studies Pre. Cum Mains Study Materials

Prelims Questions:

Q.1) With reference to the doctrine of “essentiality”, consider the following statements:
1. It was invented by a seven-judge Bench of the Supreme Court in the ‘Golaknath’ case in 1954.
2. The court held that the term “religion” will cover all rituals and practices “integral” to a religion, and took upon itself the responsibility of determining the essential and non-essential practices of a religion.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: B
Mains Questions:
Q.1) What is the FASTag technology? What is the importance of it?

NEW! UPSC Exam may be Postponed due to Corona Virus