Piyush Goyal pitches for tech-oriented approach in Railways

NEW DELHI: To achieve rapid modernisation of the Indian Railways, Minister Piyush Goyal on Tuesday asserted that the government aims to complete projects that it is currently involved in within the next six to seven years.

“In 30 seconds, we decided that the Indian Railways and people of India deserve the world’s most modern signalling system. We have identified the European Train Control System (ETCS) as one of the most modern technological tools, and are looking to implement the same in the next six to seven years,” Goyal said at the India Infracon-2018 event organised here by Asian News International.

In line with the Centre’s Make in India initiative, Goyal said creating domestic manufacturing hubs for producing rail coaches would not only boost manufacturing, but also would lead to widespread job creation and subsequently towards achieving greater ancillarisation.

“I have written to the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister (Adityanath) for setting up a manufacturing hub in the state, which will help produce nearly 1000 coaches. We are looking at tripling this capacity within one year. India can start exporting the signalling system to the whole world once we are able to build the 60,000 kilomters that we need,” the minister said.

With technological expertise, Goyal said the Indian Railways can be transformed significantly in terms of capacity, safety, punctuality and introduce the concept of driver-less trains in the years to come.

Once modernisation is implemented, the next step, Goyal said, is to provide WiFi across all railway stations in India, free of charge.

“If you ask me what is the need for WiFi at far-flung railway stations, I will say that I will invite children, women, farmers and all people in the vicinity to explore the world by using WiFi for free. We will provide Wi-Fi at 8000 railway stations across the country,” he said.

Goyal also shed light on introducing CCTVs in all coaches and railway stations across the country in order to ensure that every citizen, especially women, feel safe while travelling.

“Data analytics and artificial intelligence is the next big thing in the technological arena. Using these, we can ensure that every lady is safe and secure, as CCTVs installed on train coaches, in offices of the railways, would help keep track. Also, using technology, young children who run away from home or are trafficked can be detected with ease,” he said.

Goyal also opined that every citizen in India should be technologically-connected, adding that holistic thinking is necessary to bring about a mindset change.