How is digital helping Indian Railways?

Digital deployment is not only providing a lot of convenience to passengers but also helping Railways to become more agile and efficient

Indian Railways has embraced digital in all spheres of its operations be it passenger information system, coach factory automation, predictive maintenance, train signalling, land management system, procurement and Unreserved Ticketing System.

Indian Railways is implementing Real Time Train Information System (RTIS) in collaboration with ISRO for automatic chart preparation and passenger train information. 2,700 electric locomotives have been provided with RTIS and 3,800 diesel locomotives provided with RAMLOT thereby automatic control charting being done for 6,500 locomotives. In a year’s time frame, balance 6,000 electric locomotives to be provided with RTIS equipment.

To cater to the ticketing needs of passengers at halt stations, computerized unreserved tickets are being made available through Unreserved Ticketing System (UTS) terminals replacing manual printed card tickets system. This is being done through the nearest nodal station. In addition, trials of Portable-UTS have been approved over Southern Railway for issue of tickets at halt stations. Trials of enhanced ETM using android mobile phone and Bluetooth printer in connected mode have been approved over Northern Railway. Artificial Intelligence (AI) based PNR confirmation predictor is integrated with IRCTC website for better result.

The Complaint Management system was rechristened as ‘RailMadad’ is the Railways-only Portal for redressal of customers’ grievances. It was rolled out in October 2019 as an integrated complaints platform (Web, SMS, App, Manual Dak, Social Media and IVRS Helpline 139) and is very helpful for passengers.

Indian Railways is modernizing its signaling system by implementing Modern Train Control system with Long Term Evolution (LTE) based Mobile Train Radio Communication (MTRC) System.

Railways has implemented Industry 4.0 in Modern Coach Factory, Raebareli for higher productivity. Indian Railways has also used drone mounted camera and 3D scanning of river bed in 2019 for inspection of bridges and is planning to use drones for rail maintenance in the future.

For predictive maintenance, an automated system for detecting defective wheel and bearing has been installed. The organisation is in the process of installing 25 OMRS way-side inspection systems at 20 locations spread over entire network so that defect report generation and alert communications takes place in real time for taking corrective action. As on date, 6 OMRS systems have been installed and all installations is expected to be completed in 2020.

Computerization of Train Signal Register (TSR) have been supplied on 650 stations. All stations have been commissioned and made live at 508 stations by November 2019. All locations are expected to go live by March 2020.

A separate land management system i.e. Indian Railways Land Management System (IRLAMS) is being developed for the management of land related data such as land records, lease license records documented at one place.

End-to-end digitization of procurement process of Indian Railways has been accomplished. All the processes from generation of demand, processing of demands, publication of tenders, technical evaluation of bids, tender finalization, preparation and issue of letter of acceptance/contracts/modifications, inspection of material by RITES/Consignee, acceptance and accountal of supplies, online receipt and processing of vendors’ bills, issue of material to consignees etc. are digital. All this is definitely helpful in procurement.

e-Reverse Auction (e-RA) made as the default mode of tendering for tenders for procurement of goods valuing more than Rs. 5 crore. The process of e-RA has now been further improved to have better competition. An e-application IR-WCMS launched as a pilot project in 17 divisions of Indian Railways to handle works contracts on e-platform. This e-application shall be extended soon to all divisions. All activities/stages of sale of scrap from Lot formation, Catalogue publication, e-auction, collection of Earnest Money Deposit (EMD) and Balance Sale Value (BSV) to issue of Sale Release Order (SRO) etc. are also digitized.

72,000+ Digital Files created in mere 6 months’ time over 58 establishments of Indian Railways is replacing manual file. The NIC e-office is implemented by RailTel is helping Indian Railways to save tons of paper every day. In the phase I of the project 50,000+ users have been created.

Implementation of SBI’s CIPS (Centralized Integrated Payment System) is a system improvement to ensure online payments without manual intervention. CIPS facilitates digital signing of payment files and it is automatic and secure server to server transfer from Integrated Payroll & Accounting System (IPAS) server to SBI server. The number of PoS machines installed on trains for billing and digital payments has reached 5,122 on 417 trains and 703 rakes. In addition, 6,002 other digital modes of payment including PoS machines made operational in 2018 static units (Food Plaza, Fast Food Units, Refreshment Rooms, Catering Stalls etc).

On the high speed free Wi-Fi front, Indian Railways has increased its tally to more than 5,500 with the commencement of operations in Mahua Milan railway station. The journey started in January 2016 from Mumbai Central station and in a span of 46 months, Railways has successfully provided W-iFi at 5,500 stations across the country. Along the journey, Railways roped in partners like Google, Tata Trust and PGCIL for some parts of the project and also received funding from the Department of Telecom (DoT) USOF for 200 stations.

Stations provided with CCTV based Surveillance System has crossed 500. Railway Board is planning to install CCTV in all stations and coaches by March 2022. Other digital initiative includes: Electronic Drawing Approval System (E-DAS); Unique Medical Identity Card (UMID) for health care; and Human Resource Management System (HRMS).

All these initiatives will definitely help Indian Railways increase its efficiency and also help in minimizing cost thanks to large scale digital adoption.


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