Express News Service
NEW DELHI: Aimed at promoting Indian innovators and entrepreneurs through a series of innovative start-ups in the system and services of railway, Union Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw on Monday officially launched the Indian Railway Innovation Portal with a start-up policy for railways here.
Later, speaking on the occasion, the railway minister said that Indian Railways as the country’s national transporters has taken an important initiative in the field of innovation through the participation of start-ups and other entities.
“That day is not far away when India will be exporting start-ups to other countries. The railways will continue supporting the innovative start-ups, by all means, even granting up to Rs 1.5 crore to innovative start-ups, ”the minister said.
Spelling out the objective of the start-up policy brought into the public domain through the portal, the minister said that the policy has been framed in a way that it will bring scale and efficiency in the field of operation, maintenance and infrastructure creation through the participation of very large and untapped startup ecosystem.
He further said that the railways will help to bring out solutions for the kind of problems faced by the Indian railways.
In reply to a TNIE’s query, the minister said that 11 problems of railways shared through the portal have been solved by the start-ups. “The response is hugely encouraging from the start-up side. A lot of innovative start-ups are being shared on various services of railways, ”the minister told the TNIE.
Lauding the railway for bringing out the start-up portal, as envisioned by PM Narendra Modi, Vaishnaw said that the long-going discussions over the integration of technology into Indian Railways have taken a firm and effective shape in the form of this initiative.
“It will help the railway to connect itself with the vast pools of innovative start-ups. Out of over 100 problem statements received from different divisions, field offices and zones of railways, 11 problem statements like rail fracture, headway reduction etc. have been taken up for phase 1 of this program, ”he said.
Making a call to the start-ups, the minister said that the railway start-ups platform should be used with getting support from Indian Railways in the form of a 50 per cent capital grant, assured market, scale and ecosystem.
The minister stated that the start-up innovation policy along with the start-ups portal aims to leverage innovative technologies developed by Indian start-ups and innovators to improve operational efficiency and safety in railways.
The minister also said that a separate fund would also be created at the division level for supporting the start-ups for railways in addition to the fund of Rs 150 crore created at the ministry level.
“This start-up portal and policy will help the railways in adopting the latest cycles of technologies. The railway will put its problems before the start-ups and whichever will provide a solution, the railway will support that start-up, ”he said.
Later, ADG PR Rajeev Jain sharing details on the salient features of the Indian Railway Innovation Policy said that the railway will provide support right from completing the process of floating the problem statement to the development of a prototype.
Trials of prototypes or start-ups will be done in Railways. Enhanced funding will be provided to scale up deployment on the successful performance of prototypes and selection of Innovators will also be done by a transparent and fair system ”, Jain said.