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.\
- 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.
Q.1) With reference to the doctrine of “essentiality”, consider the
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
Q.1) What is the FASTag technology? What is the importance of it?