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Daily Current Affairs – 2019

Topic: For Prelims and Mains

FASTag

Why in news?

From December 15, 2019, FASTag, a prepaid rechargeable tag for toll payments, on national highways will become mandatory for all vehicles.

What is FASTag?

  • It is a prepaid radio­frequency identification-enabled tag that facilitates automatic deduction of toll charges.
  • The new system will now do away with a stop­over of vehicles and cash transactions at toll plazas.

Implemented by:

  • The FASTag electronic toll collection programme is being implemented by the Indian Highways Management Company Limited(IHMCL),
  • A company incorporated by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), and the National Payments Corporation of India in coordination with Toll Plaza Concessionaires, tag issuing agencies and banks.

Validity:

  • FASTag has a validity of five years.

What are the benefits?

  • Apart from plugging revenue leakages and reducing the cost of delays and fuel consumption, which is also likely to cut down the nation’s GDP loss, the tag helps remove bottlenecks, ensures seamless movement of track and saves time.
  • The centralised system provides authentic and real­ time data to government agencies for better analysis and policy formulation.
  • It also helps reduce air pollution and the use of paper besides cutting the cost of managing toll plazas.

What lies ahead?

  • The integration, which will become mandatory across the country from April 2020, will help revenue authorities check whether goods vehicles are actually headed to the specified destination.
  • Suppliers and transporters will also be able to keep track of their vehicles through SMS alerts generated at each tag reader­-enabled toll plaza.
  • The Central government also plans to enable the use of FASTag for a range of other facilities such as fuel payments and parking charges.

Facts for Prelims

Golconda Fort :

  • A large part of the 500­year­old Golconda Fort’s moat has been pulverized by the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) for laying a pipeline.

About the Golconda Fort:

  • Location – Hyderabad, Telangana.
  • It was originally known as Mankal, and built on a hilltop in the year 1143.
  • The fort was built by the Kakatiya dynasty.
  • India’s one of the most outstanding citadels, the Golconda fort epitomises the sumptuous ‘Nawabi’ culture of the time.
  • 17th century, Golconda was famous as a diamond market.
  • It gave the world some of the best-known diamonds, including the ‘Kohinoor’.

Vande Bharat Express :

  • Recently a probe was sought into ‘sabotage’of Vande Bharat Express.

Vande Bharat Express (Train 18):

  • Train 18 is India’s first engine-less semi-high speed train.
  • It is the first 16-coach train set, designed and built with 80 per cent Indian component at the Indian Railways’ Integral Coach Factory in Chennai under ‘Make in India’ program.
  • It has been designed for a maximum operating speed of 160 kmph
  • The Vande Bharat Express will run on all days of the week except Tuesday.
  • The train is equipped with wifi, bio vaccum toilets, GPS-based infotainment system, CCTV surveillance.
  • Note – It runs between Delhi and Varanasi.
  • Train 20 is a next generation aluminium-bodied sleeper class trains that will replace the Rajdhani Express Tains .

 

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