‘RailWire Saathi Kiosks’ will help public take advantage of e-governance services, and will go a long way in bridging the digital divide.
In a unique and people-friendly initiative, RailTel is setting up common service centre (CSC) stalls at 200 railway stations across the country for the common man to avail various services.
The move aims to help the public visiting stations to benefit from the various services offered by CSC at the station. The services offered include booking of tickets (train, air, bus etc); work related to Aadhaar card, voter card, Pan card, income tax, banking, insurance; mobile phone recharge and electricity bill payment, and many more.
Railtel, a public sector undertaking of the railways, has operationalised the scheme in partnership with CSC e-Governance Services India Limited under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology at two stations in Uttar Pradesh on a pilot basis.
Called ‘RailWire Saathi Kiosks’, the stalls will be run by village level entrepreneurs (VLEs). RailWire is the brand name of the retail broadband service of RailTel.
To begin with, the RailWire Saathi CSC kiosks at Varanasi City Station and Prayagraj City Station have been made operational.
Similar kiosks will be operationalised at around 200 railway stations, mostly in rural areas, in phases.
Out of these, 44 are in South Central Railway, 20 are in North Frontier Railway, 13 are in East Central Railway, 15 are in Western Railway, 25 are in Northern Railway, 12 are in West Central Railway, 13 in East Coast Railway and 56 in North Eastern Railway.
RailTel has created one of the largest integrated Wi-Fi Networks of the world by providing public wi-fi (under the brand name ‘RailWire’) at 6,090 stations out of which 5,000 are in rural areas.
Utilising the existing infrastructure at stations, RailTel, in partnership with CSC, plans to deliver broadband services to rural areas, which will go a long way in bridging the digital divide and fulfil the Prime Minister’s vision of Digital India.
Talking about the initiative, RailTel chairman and managing director Puneet Chawla said, “people in rural areas often find it difficult to avail various e-governance services or take advantage of digitalisation due to lack of infrastructure/resources as well as lack of knowledge using the Internet.”
“These RailWire Saathi kiosks will bring these essential digital services at rural railway stations to support the rural population.”
Talking about the partnership with RailTel, CSC e-Governance Services India Limited managing director Dinesh Kumar Tyagi said, “due to erratic connectivity, citizens in remote villages at times face challenges in accessing various services seamlessly. With CSC services made available through RailTel’s Wi-Fi and kiosk infrastructure at Railway stations, we will be able to reach out to a large number of people visiting these stations or living in its vicinity.”
RailWire (RailTel’s retail broadband service) is FTTH (Fibre to the Home) based broadband services which is operational on collaborative business model, and 40 per cent of its last mile service partners are in rural areas.
There are more than 2.7 lakh CSCs across the country, mainly in village areas. Now additional CSCs are coming up in railway stations.
RailTel plans to leverage the complementary strength of CSC to broaden its broadband users.