Indian Railways has taken a major initiative in the field of innovation through the participation of start-ups as well as other entities. On Monday, Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw launched a policy- “StartUps for Railways” in Rail Bhavan, New Delhi, which will bring scale and efficiency in the field of operation, maintenance as well as the creation of infrastructure through the participation of very large and untapped startup ecosystem. According to Vaishnaw, through this platform, start ups will get an opportunity to connect with the national transporter. Out of more than 100 problem statements received from various divisions, field offices or zones of Indian Railways, eleven problem statements such as rail fracture, headway reduction, etc., have been taken up for this program’s phase 1.
The Railway Minister further said these will be presented before the start ups to find innovative solutions. Vaishnaw requested the startups to use this opportunity as well as ensured them support from the national transporter in form of a 50% capital grant, scale, assured market, and ecosystem. Following are some of the salient details of Indian Railways’ Innovation Policy:
1) Grant up to an amount of Rs 1.5 crore to innovator on basis of equal sharing with provision of milestone-wise payment
2) Entire process from floating of problem statement to prototype development is online with defined time line to make it objective and transparent
3) Prototypes’ trials will be done in Indian Railways. On successful performance of prototypes, enhanced funding will be provided to scale up deployment.
4) Innovators will be selected by a transparent and fair system which will be dealt through online portal
5) Developed Intellectual property rights will only remain with the innovator
6) Assured developmental order to innovator
7) De-centralization of the complete process of product development at divisional level in order to avoid delays