Indian Railway Current Affairs - 2020

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MoU between Railways and SBI for door step banking

On January 14, 2020, the South-Central Railways and SBI signed MoU to implement door step banking in 585 railway stations

Highlights

The MoU will enable direct pick up of cash from all the railway stations included in the MoU. Before the agreement, the earnings generated at the railway stations were manually sent to nearest banks that were authorised to collect the deposit on behalf of the Railways. This delayed the remittance of cash because of several factors such as availability of man power, holidays, etc.

Major Benefits of the new system

The door step banking will provide uniform cash remittance mechanism in all the railway stations. It will also provide real time information about the cash that is deposited by different stations. This will enable increased accountability and also will help in better supervision. This method will also avoid unwanted accumulation of cash at railway stations.

Why not DBT?

The Direct Bank Transfer is not a feasible option at the moment. This is because there are still persons in the interior parts of the country using cash to buy their tickets. Apart from interior parts, cash is still used in urban areas to buy tickets as well.

The number of passengers using online to book their tickets have increased since 2011-12. In 2015, around 54% of tickets were booked online as compared to 2012. In 2018 the e-ticket sales have been up by 14%. However, there are still an accountable population using cash to buy their tickets.

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Jharkhand’s Mahuamilan station becomes country’s 5500th station to get free wifi facility

Jharkhand’s Mahuamilan station which comes under East Central Railway (ECZ) zone has become 5500th station to get free wifi facility. The RailTel Corporation of India Ltd. (RCIL), the digital arm of Indian Railways, has thus provided free WiFi at 5,500 stations across country. RailTel is a ‘Miniratna’ enterprise that focuses on providing broadband and VPN services.

WiFi across India

Indian Railways began the service of providing free WiFi at its railway stations from January 2016. The mission was to provide WiFi at all railway stations (except the halt ones). For this purpose of providing WiFi, RailTel roped in partners including Tata Trust, Google, PGCIL (Power Grid Corporation of India Limited) for some parts of the project. It also got funding from Department of Telecom USOF (Universal Service Obligation Fund) for 200 stations.

The first station covered was Mumbai Central station, Maharashtra and in a span of 46 months RailTel has extended service to 5,500 stations across country. WiFi is being provided under brand name ‘Railwire’– the retail broadband service of RailTel. In October 2019 a total of 1.5 crore user logins in RailWire Wi-Fi services across all stations recorded a consumption of 10242TB data.

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