Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) joined hands with Women and Child Development Ministry to promote Self Help Groups (SHGs) for providing pure and chilled water to train passengers at cheaper rates through water vending machines at stations.
This follows an agreement between the Railways and WCD Ministry to launch a scheme for improving the livelihood condition of poor people involved with SHG.
IRCTC, a Railways PSU, has already provided more than 500 such machines at major railway stations across the country.
“There are around 7,100 railway stations in D, E and F categories over all Zonal Railways. IRCTC and WCD Ministry have agreed to take ahead the scheme of providing machines at these stations by SHGs,” said AK Manocha, Chairman and Managing Director of IRCTC.
The groups will be identified by WCD Ministry while the capital cost for the project will be provided by Rashtriya Mahila Kosh, which provides microfinance to the poorest and women entrepreneurs without assets for income generating activities.
“IRCTC is also considering to part finance from its CSR funds. We will also provide all technical assistance to implement the project, Manocha said, adding “We have already roped in SHGs for our catering operations.”
The list of manufactures, already empanelled with IRCTC, has been made available to WCD Ministry, which has identified 14 stations for the project, to begin with.
Similar arrangements are also being made with NABARD.