Railways Research-cum-Incubation Centre in Darjeeling

Railways Research-cum-Incubation Centre in Darjeeling
The railway authorities are planning 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 plan is part of the railway’s effort to bring in technological innovation to improve efficiency and performance, as announced in its budget this year. The Railways will join hands with major IT firms such as Wipro and IBM for the centre, which is expected to start operations by year-end 2014.
The research-cum-incubation centre will have a capacity to train 50 people in one batch and will be backed by the Centre for Railway Information Systems along with the IT giants. “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 railway official with the Railway Board.
The railway 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 new facility will act as a centre 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,” added the official.
The railway had recently introduced online booking for freight services, while 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. HS

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