27th Feb 2013
The rail budget for the year is finally out. While discussing how many new trains are to be launched or the fiscal health of the railways is outside the scope of TechTree, here's what the Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal has promised on the technology front:
In keeping with the mobile computing boom, we finally see Indian Rail warming up to some technology, by offering Internet on the go. Also, free Wi-Fi is planned at select railway stations. Here are some of the other tech related highlights from the budget.
Those who are hassled by the buggy IRCTC website may be able to breathe easy by the end of the year. Bansal has promised to give the existing e-ticketing system a much-needed new lease of life. While the current site can handle 2,000 bookings a minute, post the revamp, it is meant to support 7,200 bookings a minute.
The minister has also extended booking hours from 12:30 am to 11:30 pm. Hopefully by the end of 2013, tatkal services will be as prompt as its name suggests.
Moreover, the Railway Minister has also promised to enable booking of tickets via mobile phones. While IRCTC already has a mobile site that works with phones, and it has partnered with services such as NGPay, what other additional features will be made available (maybe an SMS-based booking system?), we'll possibly find of when (if ever) it comes to life.
The minister has also proposed to setup a Rs 100 crore fund to beautify railway stations in New Delhi and other select areas, which will include installation of amenities such as 179 escalators and 400 lifts. Stations are also expected to sport braille stickers and wheelchairs. Also proposed is a security helpline for women.
Will these proposed improvements help make your travel hassle free? Let's just hope it does.