NPCI to launch electronic toll collection system later in November

In the first phase, the ETC will be available across 395 toll collection plazas on national highways


New Delhi: In an attempt to speed up the process of making toll collections electronic, the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) will launch its new electronic toll collection (ETC) system on a pilot basis later this month. Initially, only toll payments will be part of it, but eventually it will be extended to other vehicle-related payments such as parking fees, servicing and fuel charges.

The pilot plan was slated for launch on 31 October.

In the first phase, the ETC will be available across 395 toll collection plazas on national highways. The toll plazas will have terminals that will verify vehicles on the basis of a device, which will automatically debit money from a prepaid account. This concept is based on the US and Canada model.

“The debit here is not happening in real time as vehicles can’t wait at the toll gates. So the risk management and technology is a little different here. The vehicle passes and then the debit takes place,” said Dilip Asbe, chief operating officer (COO) of NPCI.

He was addressing a seminar on ‘NPCI’s Initiatives in Digital Payments’ at the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy (NIPFP) in New Delhi on Wednesday.

“All banks incorporated for this are looking at a prepaid model except for IDFC bank where the toll charges can be paid from bank accounts itself ,” Asbe added.

NPCI had announced the introduction of five new services during this financial year, starting with United Payment Interface (UPI) in April. Other products are Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS), ETC, RuPay credit card and the Tap-and-Go National Common Mobility Card.

UPI was launched in April, allowing banks to develop applications in a way that will let customers instantly transfer money to each other using a virtual payment address (VPAs), without exchanging bank account details to transfer money.

RuPay has already been enabled on all ATMs, PoS (point of sale) and e-commerce channels. India has 14 lakh PoS terminals and all the terminals accept all brands of debit and credit cards. The use of RuPay cards at the e-commerce channel has also been growing rapidly. It can be used for booking railway tickets and bus tickets, shopping on the internet or paying bills and taxes.

BBPS is currently running on pilot basis. It was launched in August to provide an integrated bill payment system in the country that offers interoperable and accessible bill payment services to customers through a network of agents, enabling multiple payment modes and providing instant confirmation of receipt of payment. Currently, 26 Bharat Bill Payment operating units are part of the pilot out of the overall 62 entities which have received in-principle approval to serve as operating units.

The National Common Mobility Card is built upon the RuPay model, to be used across the entire nation. It will mainly be useful for small-value transactions such as in groceries and transportation, especially for metros. A pilot has already been rolled out with Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corp. for buses and with Kochi Metro under this.