दार्जिलिंग Darjeeling (DJ): In line with the announcement in its budget on technological innovation to improve efficiency and performance, Indian Railways plans to set up a research-cum-incubation centre in Darjeeling. The centre would aid the national transporter to implement new ideas through information technology, according to senior officials.
The centre, expected to be operational by the end of this year, will have the capacity to train 50 people in a single batch. To be set up in partnership with the Centre for Railway Information Systems, the Railways plans to join hands with leading IT companies such as Wipro and IBM. ”About Rs 3.45 crore has been sanctioned for the project and infrastructure like buildings and hostels is almost ready. We are in the process of deciding the structural curriculum,” said a senior official with the Railway Board.
The Railways is also fine-tuning the screening criteria for employees to be selected for the programme. The proposed centre in Darjeeling is separate from the four colleges that are supposed to be set up under the Railway University. “This centre will act as a nodal for innovative ideas and modernisation of the Railways. We want to promote new thinking for changing the working style and use modern information technology for various operations,” said an official.
The Railways had recently introduced online booking for freight services. It also decided that about half of Tatkal tickets would be sold online through premium pricing.
Railway Minister Sadananda Gowda had announced a series of measures in the last budget, including adoption of modern accounting methods, setting up Railway University and incubation centres to promote use of information technology in the Indian Railways, which still works under the century-old British system.
After Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to China and Japan, ideas from these countries are also being adopted. Railway officials said such incubation or research centres are common among various international railway systems. The Railways currently has Research Design and Standards Organization, whose research primarily focuses on mechanical and signalling aspects of Railway operations. The Darjeeling research centre will be a first-of-its-kind focusing on information technology.