NEW DELHI, 28 August 2018 : Piyush Goyal, Minister for Railways and Coal, Government of India, said here today that in about six months 6000 railway stations will be Wi-Fi enabled.
He was speaking at the ‘Smart Railways Conclave’ organised by Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).
“We believe that if we have to leverage digital technology, the basic ingredient is to ensure access to technology in the remotest part of the country. The Railways are working on a program to do the last mile connectivity wherever we do not have fibre optics in our network. We are hopeful that in next six to eight months all railway stations, other than the halt stations, about six thousand stations will be Wi-Fi enabled,” he said.
Emphasising on project implementation, Goyal said, “We are focusing on smarter project implementation. We will have to start thinking, planning, and working smartly. I think that’s the change that you would have seen the last four years.”
On punctuality of trains, the Railway Minister said that between April 1 and today, punctuality has improved to 73-74% as railways have made a smart change by replacing the practice of the station-master recording the time with data loggers placed at interchange points across the network that ensure computer generated time. “We are working on putting a GPS device on every locomotive so that we will have every train marked on mobile phone, knowing exactly where they are.”
He said that the Railway Ministry was looking at simple and smarter interventions to make railways efficient. “We are looking at electrification in a big way which will save $2 billion every year, which otherwise I would have to charge the passengers. With efficient Railways, we won’t have to burden the poor,” he said.
On the occasion, the Minister and other dignitaries released two knowledge papers namely, “FICCI-EY Report on Make in India in Railways Sector’ and ‘FICCI-A.T. Kearney Report on Technology: Transforming Railways Transportation’.
S K Mishra, Advisor (Infrastructure), Railway Board, Government of India, said that besides ramping up investment, there has been a significant delegation of powers to strengthen Indian Railways. Poul V Jensen, Director, European Business and Technology Centre (EBTC) giving the global perspective on Smart Railways said that predictive maintenance is the hot topic in Europe which is a condition-based maintenance system and allows smooth operations.
Sandip Somany, Senior Vice President, FICCI and Joint MD, Hindustan Sanitaryware & Industries Ltd. in his welcome address said, “Indian Railways is at an inflection point and several landmark developments have taken place in last four years. There has been steep progression in investments in the railways sector in recent years and India has the potential to become a manufacturing hub.” Nalin Jain, Co-Chairman (Railways), FICCI National Committee on Infrastructure and President & CEO, GE Transportation-Asia Pacific and K Ramchand, Chairman, FICCI National Committee on Infrastructure and Managing Director, IL&FS Transportation Networks Ltd. also shared their perspective on Smart Railways.
The FICCI-EY report ‘Railways sector – A key driver for Make in India Program’ highlights the significance of the railway sector for the ‘Make in India’ campaign. The report also touches upon the implications of technological upgradation of railway infrastructure in India for leading Indian manufacturing firms, global MNCs as also for SMEs. The FICCI-A.T. Kearney Report ‘Technology: Transforming Railways Transportation’ focuses on the importance of embedding technology in Indian Railways, thereby creating a roadmap to become best in class in the world.