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18 Aug, 2014

Indian Railways to get Smart Cards, Wi-fi access, e-ticketing

New Delhi, Ministry of Railways, 13-August-2014 – In a move to provide more hassle-free services to railway users, the Minister of Railways, Mr. S.D.Sadananda Gowda launched new IT initiatives/applications at a function here today. These initiatives have been  developed by Centre for Railway Information Systems (CRIS), an autonomous organization under the Ministry of Railways. Mr. Gowda also through Remote Control inaugurated the new Rail Neer Plant at Ambernath, (Mumbai) of Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), a Public Sector Undertaking of Ministry of Railways.

The Minister of State for Railways, Mr. Manoj Kumar Sinha was especially present on the occasion. Chairman, Railway Board, Mr. Arunendra Kumar, Member Engineering, Railway Board, Mr. V.K.Gupta, Member Mechanical, Railway Board,  Mr. Alok Johri, Member Staff, Railway Board, Financial Commissioner, Mrs. Rashmi Kapoor, Mr. A.K.Mital, Managing Director, CRIS Mrs. Vandna Nanda and Chairman-cum-Managing Director, IRCTC Mr. M.P.Mall were also present on the occasion. Dr. Mr. Kant Eknath Shinde, Member of Parliament from Kalyan in Maharashtra was also present on the occasion. As the new Rail Neer factory at Ambernath falls in his constituency.

In his inaugural address, Mr. Gowda said that Indian Railways with its Passenger Reservation System has the distinction of having one of the largest and robust citizens centric IT Systems in the world.  As the number of trains and the services of Indian Railways are growing constantly, matching IT systems should also be developed simultaneously to meet the demands as also to provide state of art IT solutions to the ever increasing aspirations of the passengers.  Indian Railways need to use IT Services extensively in Passengers services, Freight services, Bring Operational efficiency and Staff Welfare.

Mr. Gowda  said that realizing importance of IT in reaching out to passengers, several initiatives were announced in budget speech which include ; Next generation ticket reservation system, Wi-fi in trains and stations, Real-time tracking of trains and rolling stock, Mobile based application for passengers, Station navigation information systems, e-booking  for retiring rooms and many others. In order to provide quick and efficient services to our freight customers, online wagon demand registration was also announced in the Railway Budget, He added

The Railway Minister expressed his happiness as some of the budget announced initiatives are being dedicated to the nation and congratulated all those who were involved in successfully completing these projects.

Speaking on the occasion, the Minister for Railways Mr. Manoj Sinha said that development of these applications by Railways own organization is a matter of great pride. He said the more and more applications of IT solutions will bring transparency and would also ultimately  bring relief to the common man. He said that CRIS and IRCTC are the organization of Indian Railways working in the fields of providing best passenger amenities. He called upon the railway officers to continue to work for developing more IT initiatives and for more passenger friendly measures.

In his speech, Chairman, Railway Board Mr. Arunendra Kumar said that it is really commendable that the Indian Railways has in-house developed five railway user friendly IT applications in one shot. I personally salute the IT arm of Indian Railways, namely CRIS, for this spectacular feat. Our IT organizations are not working  for commercial motive but work for public service motive and in fact are no less than e-commerce giants like flipkart, amazon etc. We are fully committed to use IT solution  for bringing transparency and efficiency in deference to the wishes of the Prime Minister, he added.

Speaking on the occasion, Member Traffic, Railway Board, Mr. D.P.Pande said that the future is bright and this core group of professionals in CRIS and domain experts have been moving at a fast pace. They have already delivered Dynamic Pricing at short notice and are running towards “Accounting Management System (I-PAS), Loco Management System for Diesel/Electric Locos, Parcel Management System (PMS), Workshop Management System, Track Management System, ERP System for Production Units, etc. This list is endless but Indian Railways is moving in the right direction at the right speed.”

He said that CRIS is in the process of developing other important passenger facing applications like Currency Operated Ticket Vending Machine (COTVM) which will allow customers to obtain tickets by putting cash into these machines. Another project for delivering unreserved tickets on mobile phones is also on the anvil. IT solution are a sure fine way of getting maximum return on minimum investment and it is transparent and user friendly. Referring to the Packaged drinking water called Rail Neer, Mr. Pande said that this product of IRCTC has earned reputation in quality. With today’s launch of new Rail Neer plant of IRCTC at Ambernath in Maharashtra the total capacity will increase to 5.8 lakh bottles per day.

In her speech, MD, CRIS, Mrs. Vandna Nanda said that CRIS, which is the sole and only in-house e-solution provider to the Indian Railways, has been at the forefront of not only developing, operating as well as maintaining the most intricate and vital software programmes that run present day Indian exceeds Railways “like PRS, UTS, FOIS, COA, IREPS to name a few but CRIS also maintains the network on which these pan India programmes run. It may surprise many here to know that the number of passenger transactions that Indian Railways handles in one single day far exceeds the total booking done by all the scheduled airlines in the entire world in a day. CRIS handles the systems that generate, on an average, Rs. 450 crore for Indian Railways daily through its PRS, UTS, and FOIS, she added

Go India Smart card

This is a pan India smart card to enable passengers to pay for tickets for long distance reserved, unreserved, and suburban journeys as a pilot project.

It can be used a nominated UTS counters and Automatic Ticket Vending Machines (ATVMs) and nominated PRS counters for reserved tickets

It is a contact-less smart card: no need to swipe or insert into a slot.

The pilot project to be implemented on the following two sectors:

·        New Delhi “ Howrah sector at 6 stations.: New Delhi, Kanpur, Allahabad, Dhanbad, Asansol, Howrah

·        New Delhi – Mumbai sector at 6 stations: New Delhi, Kota, Vadodara, Ratlam, Surat, Mumbai Central.

Initially, the card can be issued by paying Rs. 70/- where passenger can get Rs. 20/- balance. After that the card can be recharged for Rs. 20/- or in multiples of Rs. 50/- up to Rs. 5000/-. Maximum limit can be Rs. 10,000/-.

Go-India smart card has lifetime validity.

Train Enquiry Mobile App

CRIS has enhanced the Train Enquiry system by developing a Mobile App and a desktop application for Windows 8 platform. It has now become easier to track the movement of passenger trains and arrival and departure timings for the benefit of passengers. The app connects to the Train Enquiry system at the Back-end.

One of the best features of the new app is “spot your train”  which provides information such as its current position, expected time of arrival and departure at a particular station, train schedule, train between two stations, information on cancelled/diverted/rescheduled trains, and trains expected to arrive and depart from a particular station in the next 2 or 4 hours. The App can be downloaded as a free app for Windows 8 phones. It is planned to release it on the Android platform also shortly.

Next Generation e-ticketing (NGeT)

Indian Railways e-ticketing system www.irctc.co.in is one of the most essential G2C services operational in the country today. It caters to over 8 lakh passengersdaily (50% of reserved passengers).

To provide superior service and to address the limitations of the existing e-ticketing service, Next Generation e-ticketing (NGeT) has been developed.

·   The project is funded by IRCTC

·   NGeT has replaced the existing system on 14/907/2014. It marks a major milestone in the desire to provide:

o       Passenger friendly service delivering high performance resulting in speedier access to the website even in peak hours.

o       Equipped with state of the art technology, this system is designed to provide high service availability, scalability and improved agility for incorporating business rule changes rapidly

o       Has strengthened safeguards against frauds and unauthorized access

·        CRIS has designed developed and deployed the NGeT and is also maintaining it. IRCTC manages the commercial interfaces o f the system including bank interactions and customer interface.

·        The new system is based on open standards.

System capacity Old system NGeT
Number o f concurrent sessions 40,000 1,20,000
Booking tickets per minute 2,000 7,200
Enquiries per minute 50,000 2,00,000

With its resilient and scalable architecture, cutting edge technology, backed by high performance and user friendly features, the new NGeT has led to a quantum jump in improved customer satisfaction.

Freight E-Demand system

In Freight train movement, the need for an on-line system for Registration of rakes and wagons will be finally met with the launch of the e-Demand module of the Freight Operations Information System (FOIS). With the release of this module, customers can sit in the convenience of their homes or offices and register their freight demands.

Customers can access the module at www.fois.indianrail.gov.in. the demand can be registered for a full rake or a large r number of rakes and follow the process of registration through a single window. The module will bring transparency into the system of registration also.

The module has been designed and developed under the guidance of Indian Railways officers by experienced software professionals of CRIS.

Some of the salient features are:

·        Transparency: possibility to track and trace all registered indents

·        Multifaceted: caters to both programmed and non-programmed indents

·        Convenience: easy to use interface (anytime anywhere)

·        Security: Securely integrated with IRCTC payment gateway for collection and refund of WRF.

·        Prediction: provides advance insight to Railways about customers demands

·        Green: reduced paperwor

Freight E-Diversion system

The power of IT has been extended to revamp the current manual process of diverting coal rakes among the Power Houses and Corporations of Electricity Board through the new œe-diversion system .

Apart form being the process automation that would help railway operation, the e-diversion system will help customers in a big way by eliminating the long process of surrendering of documents at the originating station, adding payment of freight for the same consignment and long claims process.

The system will allow authorized Railways personnel to issue diversion orders and notify controllers by integration with the Control Office Application.

Some of the salient features of the module are:

·        Authorized access only

·        Customer friendly

·        No double payment

·        No penalty

·        Prompt settlement of claims

·        Transparency

New Rail Neer Plant in Mumbai region

A new Rail Neer plant at Ambernath (Mumbai) of Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), a Public Sector Undertaking of Ministry of Railways, was inaugurated for commercial production today. The production capacity of this plant will be 2 lakh liters per day, raising the total production (of the four plants) to 6.1 lakh litres of Packaged Drinking Water (PDW) daily.  Till now, already existing three Rail Neer plants used to cater to the Northern, Eastern and Southern parts of our country. As there is no Rail Neer Plant in Western India, there was a need for a plant in this region. The Rail Neer Plant at Ambernath will cater to the need of the Railway passengers in this region. Mumbai Region is an important gateway for passenger traffic.  The Railway stations in Mumbai region alone handles over 350 trains and about 4.5 lakh passengers every day. Rail Neer conforms to the Bureau of Indian Standards specifications IS: 14543-2004, and is a well accepted brand among the Railway passengers.