Even after being the world’s third largest rail network, Indian Railways still lacks the requisite infrastructure and facilities. In remote areas, the population is deprived of e-services offered by our system majorly due to inefficient network coverage and high rates of the charged by private telecom companies. In a bid to penetrate and pacify travelers in such areas, Indian Railways will now install Wi-Fi kiosks at over 500 remote stations.
This project is called ‘Railwire Saathi’ and it aims to provide free access to e-services and disseminate information regarding various government schemes available in the country. These services include e-ticketing, online banking, automated form filling, mobile and DTH recharge, among other services. It will also provide the populace with info regarding schemes concerning school fees, insurance policies, higher studies such as Pradhan Mantri Ujjwal Yojana, Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana, Pradhan Mantri Atal Pension Yojana, Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Beema Yojna.
As reported by a senior Railway Ministry official to Financial Express, the project is expected to be operational by May 2017. It further aims to root out the unemployment crisis prevalent in rural areas. The ministry has declared that the said initiative has dual motives –connectivity and employment. The installations are being done in partnership with Google itself, on the reels of digitization campaign in the country.
Presently Railtel, the telecom arm of Indian Railways is responsible for smooth execution of the project. The firm can be contacted by the unemployed youth to team up with Railwire Saathi, once the project becomes functional. Further detailing the benefits, the official said,
The Railwire Saathi is a Wi-Fi entrepreneurship model where unemployed youths, preferably women, can be trained and supported to set up a Wi-Fi hotspot and provide a platform to online services which will make the business sustainable.
Students will also receive certificates in lieu of the training provided to them by Railtel. These certificates will act as a measure to nab loans under the Mudra scheme. The money so channelized to them should be used to install and manage the Wi-Fi hotspots as per the Railtel design. This would hence assist unemployed citizens to grab a secure employment opportunity. The ministry is currently engaged in talks with the National Skill Development Council (NSDC) for approval of the training program.