Railway Minister Shri Suresh Prabhu Launches Three IT Initiatives Developed by CRIS

The Minister of Railways, Shri Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu today (1.09.2015) launched the following IT initiatives developed by Centre for Railway Information Systems (CRIS) (the IT arm of Ministry of Railways using remote control by organising Video-Conferencing between, Rail Bhawan and New Delhi Station. 

1. Paperless Unreserved Ticketing through Mobile Phone between New Delhi – Palwal Section (NR) 

2. Currency Coin cum Card operated Automatic Ticket Vending Machines at New Delhi Railway Station 

3. Mobile Application for Freight Operations (PARICHAALAN) 

Chairman, Railway Board, Shri A.K. Mital, Shri Kundan Sinha, Member Traffic, Railway Board, Shri Jamshed, Additional Member (IT), Mrs. Vandana Nanda, Managing Director, CRIS, Board Members and senior officials of Railway Board and CRIS were among those present on the occasion in the Rail Bhawan. At New Delhi Station end, Minister of Science and Technology and Earth Sciences Dr. Harsh Vardhan and Member of Parliament (Lok Sabha) Ms. Meenakshi Lekhi, New Delhi constituency. 

Speaking on the occasion, the Minister of Railways Shri Suresh Prabhu said that he is happy to launch various new initiatives, especially IT related initiatives, which are directed towards improving passenger and customer services on Indian Railways. The IT applications which have been inaugurated today are an indication that Indian Railways is constantly moving towards e-Governance. As you are aware, in the recent past we have launched a number of such IT initiatives which were also part of my Budget announcements. Hon’ble Prime Minister’s vision of Digital India is also our guiding force in Indian Railways. The Minister said the IT initiatives being undertaken by Indian Railways are in line with the Digital India Programme. He said that the spirit of this programme is to work as broad umbrella for various initiatives undertaken to improve quality of life and create facilities for common people. 

Shri Suresh Prabhu said that in April & June we had launched Paperless Unreserved Ticketing System for Chennai and Mumbai suburban sections. Today this has been launched for New Delhi-Palwal section of Northern Railway. This system shall now be proliferated to other important suburban sections of Eastern Railway, South Eastern Railway and South Central Railway shortly. 

He said that Introduction of Coin-cum-Currency operated Ticketing Vending Machine is another step forward in ensuring that passengers get their tickets quickly under ‘Operation five minutes’ announced in Railway Budget. These ticket vending machines shall be installed at all the major stations in the country. 450 machines are being procured and installed by CRIS and shall be available at major stations during the next 3 months. 

The Railway Minister said that the Freight Monitoring App named ‘Parichaalan’ is another development towards improving operating efficiency through improved Management Information System. This App shall greatly help the senior decision makers of Operating Department to plan freight operations on real time basis. After the initial experiment, this App shall be provided to other operating officers in the field. 

Shri Suresh Prabhu said that very soon Monthly Season Ticket (MST) can also be purchased through mobile by the passengers in Mumbai and Chennai suburban Railway network. The Railway Minister also said that even the platform ticket will soon be made available through the mobile phone. 

The Minister further stated that in last few months we have also launched many other initiatives including Complaint Management System with mobile application to facilitate obtaining suggestions and complaints from passengers. Many improvements have been brought about in e-ticketing segment especially automatic refund during cancellation of trains, development of Hindi e-ticketing portal and integration of customer services on single portal. SMS Alert System to inform passengers about arrival and departure of trains, all India helpline and Mobile App for woman security have also been launched recently in Mumbai & Kolkata. 

Shri Suresh Prabhu said that it is also a matter of pride for us that all these applications are being developed by our own IT organization CRIS in consultation with nodal Directorates of Railway Board. This domain expertise and in-house specialization is unparalleled and these innovations are widely acclaimed to be the best in market. 

The Railway Minister also announced that a Memorandum of Understanding will be signed shortly between Railways Department of CRIS and ISRO for using Geospatial Technology and satellite technology for various operations of Railways. 

BRIEFS ABOUT VARIOUS IT INITIATIVES:

CASH/SMART CARD OPERATED TICKET VENDING MACHINE (CCOTVM) 


Cash/Smart Card operated Ticket Vending machine (CCoTVM) is an unmanned self-operated kiosk which can be used by passengers themselves to buy unreserved tickets through Currency/Coins as well as smart cards. These kiosks have easy graphical interface for ticket transaction so that the user can operate these machines. The kiosk accepts currency/coin of all denominations of Rs 5 and above. The machine does not accept soiled/cut/ glued/taped/colored notes and accepts currency notes of Gandhi series. CCoTVMs will reduce queue length at existing ticket counters by providing an alternate unmanned ticketing solution and mode of payment. CCoTVMs have the following functionalities:- 

1) Issue of non-concessional second class journey tickets for non-suburban section and second/first class journey/return tickets for suburban section. 

2) Issue of Platform Tickets 

3) Renewal of non-concessional season tickets. 

4) Recharge of smart cards in denominations of Rs. 20/-, Rs. 50/-, Rs. 100/- and Rs. 500/-.

CCoTVM consists of: 

1) Thin Client 

2) Thermal Printer 

3) Touch screen 

4) RFID reader 

5) Cash Validator with 15 notes escrow 

6) Coin Validator with 10 coins escrow 

7) The cash box has the capacity to hold 25,000 notes and 3,000 coins. 

The basic difference between Automatic Ticket Vending Machine installed upto now and newly introduced CCoTVM is that ATVM can issue tickets through smart cards while CCoTVM can issue tickets using Cash (notes & coins) and smart cards. It can also be used for recharging these smart cards. 

Security of CCoTVM: 

The machine has two access doors, both at the front side of the machine and is equipped with mechanical & electronic locks. One door is used for maintenance activity by the service engineer. The second door is for accessing the cash box and is integrated with an alarm system. The alarm will go off whenever the door is opened by any unauthorized person. The machine has a cash box with electro mechanical lock at the bottom. Whenever the authorized supervisor wants to open the cash box to takeout shift cash, he/she will gain access to the machine by using a supervisory smart card. On keeping this smart card on the reader slot and pressing the Indian Railway logo on top right side of the screen, the supervisor's menu will appear on the screen. After entering the password, machine will print the Daily Trains Cash -cum-Summary Book (DTC) for accountal of the collected cash. 

PAPERLESS UNRESERVED TICKETING MOBILE APPLICATION 

To move forward in line with Digital India, Centre for Railway Information Systems (CRIS) has developed a paperless Unreserved Ticketing feature in Mobile Application “utsonmobile” both for Android and Windows platforms. This will eliminate the need for printing of Unreserved Tickets on ATVMs at the stations. User can download ‘App’ from Google Play Store or Window Store. 

The application was rolled out as a pilot project between Chennai Egmore & Tambaram suburban Section of Southern Railway on 22.04.2015 and Churchgate-Dahanu Road suburban section of Western Railway on 08.07.2015. The application has now been implemented on complete suburban area of Chennai & Mumbai Western Railway suburban section which covers 125 stations over 295 kms distance. Presently, about 1600 tickets are being booked daily by the passengers through this application. 

The application is now being implemented on the New Delhi-Palwal section of Northern Railway covering 11 stations over 57 kms distance. For paperless ticketing, GPS co-ordinates of railway tracks on the New Delhi-Palwal section, plus 20 meters on either side of the tracks have been earmarked as Geo-Fencing area within which no ticket booking is allowed in order to ensure that passengers have ticket before commencing the journey. 

The application provides necessary on-screen alerts to guide the passenger during the booking process. Payment for the ticket is done through the "Railway Wallet” feature in the "App". After booking the ticket, the passenger will get the ticket confirmation screen which contains limited information of the ticket. The paperless journey ticket will be stored in the local mobile application database in the encrypted form which cannot be tampered with. Ticket booked in paperless mode cannot be cancelled in order to prevent claiming of refund after travel. 

The ticket has distinct colour scheme everyday and it is embedded with Quick Response (QR) code. It cannot be forwarded to another mobile or edited or printed. The old invalid tickets will be removed from the mobile device through a sync feature in the ‘App’. 

For the purpose of ticket checking, the application has various features such as colour scheme, show ticket features, secret code of the day, booking time of the ticket and scrolling of legend “IR UNRESERVED TICKETING”. In case of mobile in disconnected mode, it will be checked through QR Code. 


PARICHAALAN, REAL TIME DECISION MAKING IN FREIGHT OPERATIONS 

Freight operations on Indian Railways are monitored through various reports generated by FOIS. These MIS reports represent various facets of freight operations like rolling stock holding of wagons and locomotives, interchange of freight trains with neighbouring divisions/zones, loading details, current train running and terminal performance. These reports are tabular in design and are mostly static in nature. 

‘Parichaalan’ is a mobile application conceptualized and developed by CRIS to make decision making on freight operations absolutely easy and user friendly. The application is a powerful tool as it not only represents data in a pictorial and graphical manner that is easily comprehensible but also makes the information dynamic and current in nature. Instead of focusing on post-mortems, Parichaalan moves operations management systems to a higher level of real time decision making. 

‘Parichaalan’ overcomes all this by: 

• Providing mapped movement of freight trains- the first time ever on IR. 

• Providing powerful search tools-removing the need to sift through voluminous tabular data. 

• Providing effective Decision Support System-focusing on the right parameters 

• Use of powerful graphical interfaces-for easy comprehension of vital parameters of operations. 

• Providing an effective planning tool-predictive in nature for planning of movement and loading. 

• Providing a paperless tool- environment friendly leading to savings of a 1000 trees per annum. 

• Allowing for mobility of officials- Live updates and decision sharing through the app. 

• Allowing adequate time for officials- less stressful working environment. 

• Allowing for instant information retrieval across multiple pages through hyperlinks. 

• Cost saving in procurement of paper, printing and distribution 

This app has the potential to earn carbon credits for IR and also can become a revenue generating tool by providing similar logistics solutions for IR customers like CIL, NTPC, SAIL, TISCO, FCI, Oil Co’s, Ports, etc. 

Courtesy: pib.nic.in

Number of scholarships doubled under National Talent Search Scheme

Number of scholarships under National Talent Search Scheme will be doubled to 2000 from existing 1000. This was announced by the Union Minister of Human Resource Development Smt. Smriti Irani while speaking on the occasion of 55th Foundation Day celebration of the NCERT in New Delhi today. 

While expressing concern about quality in school education, the Union Minister asked the Director, NCERT to undertake the National Achievement Survey for Classes III, V, VIII and X, annually. She also desired that a roadmap be prepared and submitted to Ministry of Human Resource Development within a week’s time. 

The Minister dwelt on the initiatives of Rashtriya Avishkar Abhiyan and reiterated the Government’s intention to set up Model Science Labs in a Government School in every district of the country. 

The Minister appreciated the books developed by NCERT in Hindi, English, Urdu and Sanskrit for the students and suggested that the NCERT could support the states to translate these books in regional languages. On this occasion, Smt. Irani released Tactile Map Book on Braille for Upper Primary students and appreciated the effort of NCERT for this work. 

The Minister stated that the NCERT was holding a panel discussion on “Innovations for Promoting Quality in School Education” later in the day and suggested the panel to offer recommendation specially to help students who are slow learners. She also directed NCERT to make available online all the new research work in teachers education. 

Dr. S.C. Khuntia, Secretary, Department of School Education and Literacy appreciated the yeoman service being rendered by NCERT in maintaining high standards of quality education. 

Speaking on the occasion, Director, NCERT mentioned the achievements made by the Council in the field of school education during the last five decades, and also highlighted various recent initiatives of the Ministry of HRD in school education. 

Courtesy: pib.nic.in

Employees’ Pension Scheme, 1995 gets Rs. 2,250 crore

The Union government has released a sum of Rs. 2,000 crore to Employees’ Pension Scheme, 1995 as its contribution for the year 2015-16. Shri Bandaru Dattatreya, Union Minister of State for Labour & Employment (Independent Charge) said this in a statement issued here last evening (31.08.2015). This contribution is in addition to Rs. 250 crore contributed by the Central Government as grant-in-aid in the Employees’ Pension Scheme, 1995 for providing minimum pension of Rs. 1,000/- to the pensioners of Employees’ Pension Scheme, 1995, the Minister further said. Since September, 2014, EPS pensioners have been assured of a guaranteed minimum pension of Rs. 1,000/- p.m. and it is necessary to infuse such additional amounts as grants-in-aid by the Central Government to sustain the continuance of the minimum pension of Rs. 1,000/- p.m. 

Under the provisions of Employees’ Pension Scheme, 1995, the contribution of Central Government is calculated @ 1.16% of the monthly wages of the members contributing to the Employees’ Pension Scheme, 1995. This is in addition to the funding made available by the employers covered under the Act who contribute 8.33% of the monthly wages of the members to the Scheme. 

Courtesy: pib.nic.in

Government accepts the Recommendation of the Justice A.P. Shah Committee to clarify the Inapplicability of MAT to FIIs/FPIs and has decided that an appropriate Amendment to the Income-Tax Act will be carried out

Final Report of the Justice A.P. Shah Committee on Direct Tax Matters Constituted with the Initial Mandate to Examine the Matter Relating to Levy of MAT on FIIs/FPIs for the Period Prior to 01.04.2015 Released
                    A Committee on Direct Tax matters chaired by Justice A.P. Shah was constituted with the initial mandate to examine the matter relating to levy of MAT on FIIs/FPIs for the period prior to 01.04.2015. The Committee has submitted its final report on applicability of MAT on FIIs/FPIs for the period prior to 01.04.2015 to the Government on 25.08.2015. 

The Committee has recommended that section 115JB of the Income-tax Act may be amended to clarify the inapplicability of MAT provisions to FIIs/FPIs. Alternatively, the Committee has suggested that a Circular may be issued clarifying the inapplicability of MAT provisions to FIIs/FPIs.

The Government has accepted the recommendation of the Committee to clarify the inapplicability of MAT to FIIs/FPIs and has decided that an appropriate amendment to the Income-tax Act will be carried out.  Through the amendment the Government proposes to clarify that MAT provisions will not be applicable to FIIs/FPIs not having a place of business/ permanent establishment in India, for the period prior to 01.04.2015. Pending such amendment, CBDT will convey to the field formations the decision of the Government to accept the recommendation.

The Report of the Committee is available on the website of the Finance Ministry and the Income-tax Department at www.finmin.nic.in and www.incometaxindia.gov.in   

 

Courtesy: pib.nic.in

E-Auction of First Batch of Private FM Radio Phase III Channels Continues:108 Rounds of Bidding Completed

E-Auction of the first batch of private FM radio Phase III channels re-commenced today on 1st September 2015 at 09.30 AM and during the day, four rounds of bidding took place. Till now, 108 rounds of bidding are over.
At the close of the 27th day of bidding, 96 channels in 56 cities became provisional winning channels with cumulative provisional winning price of about Rs 1155 Crore against their aggregate reserve price of about Rs 459.5 Crore. Thereby the summation of provisional winning prices surpassed the cumulative reserve price of the corresponding 96 channels by Rs 695.5 Crore or 151.3%. Overall, cumulative provisional winning price exceeded the total reserve price of the first batch i.e. Rs 550.18 Crore by Rs 604.8 Crore or 109.9%.  
The Auction for the first batch comprising 135 FM Channels in 69 existing cities of Phase II began on 27th July 2015.
            The Auction Activity Requirement (AAR) is 100%. It was increased from 90% after 59th Round on 14th August, 2015. The channel allocation stage will continue till the bids are received for any of the 135 channels.
Daily auction report for the day has been put on the Ministry’s website www.mib.nic.in. Bidding will re-commence on 2nd September, 2015 at 09.30 AM.
The following Table summarizes 27 days of bidding:
Day No
Date of Bidding
Status at the end of Round No
No of Provisionally Won Channels
No of Cities
Cumulative Reserve Price of Provisionally Won Channels (In Crore Rs)
Cumulative Provisional Winning Price (In Crore Rs)
1
27.07.2015
4
78
54
357
395
2
28.07.2015
8
79
55
377
479
3
29.07.2015
12
80
55
377
549
4
30.07.2015
16
80
55
391
643
5
31.07.2015
20
80
55
391
714
6
03.08.2015
24
82
56
395
779
7
04.08.2015
28
83
56
395
827
8
05.08.2015
32
83
56
395
869
9
06.08.2015
36
85
56
407
900
10
07.08.2015
40
86
56
425
946
11
10.08.2015
44
87
56
425
969
12
11.08.2015
48
86
56
425
987
13
12.08.2015
52
87
56
425
1005
14
13.08.2015
56
88
56
426
1022
Day No
Date of Bidding
Status at the end of Round No
No of Provisionally Won Channels
No of Cities
Cumulative Reserve Price of Provisionally Won Channels (In Crore Rs)
Cumulative Provisional Winning Price (In Crore Rs)
15
14.08.2015
60
91
56
449
1079
16
17.08.2015
64
92
56
451
1090
17
18.08.2015
68
93
56
458
1116
18
19.08.2015
72
94
56
459
1123
19
20.08.2015
76
94
56
459
1128
20
21.08.2015
80
94
56
459
1130.5
21
24.08.2015
84
94
56
459
1134
22
25.08.2015
88
94
56
459
1136.6
23
26.08.2015
92
94
56
459
1139.3
24
27.08.2015
96
94
56
459
1143
25
28.08.2015
100
94
56
459
1147
26
31.08.2015
104
94
56
459
1151.6
27
01.09.2015
108
96
56
459.5
1155

Courtesy: pib.nic.in