Passengers travelling by Railways will be able to avail free Wi-Fi service at around 8,500 railway stations by March 2019. The service will be commissioned at cost of Rs. 700 crore ($110 million). At least 600 stations of them would be equipped with the facility by end of March.
Out of total 8,500 stations, 1,200 stations will primarily serve to rail passengers while 7,300 stations will also serve to people residing in rural and remote areas as well to spread Digital India Initiative and popularize e-governance. The decision was taken in a meeting held recently.
Currently around seven million rail passengers enjoy free internet facility at 216 major stations. The service was launched as part of the government’s ambitious Digital India initiative.
“Internet access has now become an important requirement in day-to-day working and we shall be providing this facility at all railway stations in the country,” a senior Railway Ministry official said.
Internet kiosks at railway stations in rural areas will help people to avail facilities such as digital banking, Aadhaar generation, issuing government certificates, including birth and death certificates, and filing taxes and paying bills, among others.
They can also order and receive goods from e-commerce portals through these kiosks.
“These kiosks will be operated at stations with private participation for the local population. The modalities of setting up such digital hot spots are being worked out with the Telecom Ministry,” a railway official was quoted as saying by a news agency.