Railway Modernisation Current Affairs - 2020

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Indian Railways: MoU with RailTel; Content on Demand Services to raise non-fare revenue

The Indian Railways has signed MoU with the RailTel, a Mini Ratna Public Sector Undertaking in order to implement Phase II of e-office programme. Also, the Indian Railways is to provide content on demand services in premium, suburban, express and mail trains.

MoU of E-Office

On January 13, 2020, the Indian Railways and RailTel signed an agreement to implement the Phase 2 of E-office project. E-Office system is an integrated file management system that will help employees manage data, content electronically. Under the new phase, around 39,000 users are to be registered in 34 Railway divisions on the National informatics Centre. The target is set to be completed by March 2020.

Phase I

The Phase I of the project aimed at registering 50,000 plus users in 58 stations by March 2020. However, the Indian Railways have completed the target well ahead of time.

E-Office aims at adopting paperless culture. This will help reduce operational cost and also reduce carbon foot print.

National Informatics Centre

The National Informatics Centre was established in 1976. It operates under Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology. It provides infrastructure to deliver Government IT services and also the initiatives of Digital India.

Content on Demand Services

In order to generate more non fare revenue, Indian Railways will soon create content-on-demand in express, mail, suburban and express trains. The service is to be provided by the RailTel unit of GoI. The project is to be implemented in 2 years.

Under the project, the content such as shows, movies, educational programmes are to be made available in paid and unpaid formats for a period of 10 years. The project will be implemented in several languages. The aim is to cover all the 17 zones of the Railways.

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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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