Digitalisation of the Indian Railways
The Digital India initiative, which is Prime Minister Modi’s core development project, is a 3-year long project, which will change the face of connectivity in India and bring about a digital revolution. The initiative has multiple avenues for action, and during its course, it aims at building huge volumes of digital infrastructure, increase utilization of smartphones, and increase digital literacy. The initiative also aims at making India a digital hub, by creating 400,000 Internet Access Points all over the country. PM Modi’s focus is to reduce import of electronics by 2020 significantly and create a massive market for localised productions instead. The Indian Railways is a widespread network that is revered all over the world and using it as a medium for digitalisation is a trump card to propagate digital literacy.
- Many steps were taken by the IR for digitalization to improve the quality of service and make it a fast, secure, reliable, and effective method of transport in the country. Today, there are websites that not only help in booking tickets and obtaining train details but also give online catering services during the travel duration.
- Huge changes were made in the regular ticketing system to convert it to e-ticketing systems because bringing in a vast customer base is essential. The Centre of Railway Information System took upon the task of improvising the Online Ticketing Platform that focused on managing the workload, migrate 3 million customers and have a dynamic load managing system, especially during peak hours. The website creation was only the tip of the iceberg as they brought social media and mobile apps under their wing as well. This aided expansion and a wide-spread reach.
Benefits of digitalization
- There has been a massive improvement in customer service and experience when the whole system transitioned from manual to online. This includes Pre/Post Ticket booking inquiry, ticket reservation, online food services, wheelchair/cab/retiring room bookings, and sharing of feedbacks and complaints.
- With the availability of mobile apps, the web services took a shift from 50% of online purchasing of tickets to 65%, which not only ensured grievance consideration but also increased revenue generated from e-ticket sales to INR 600 million daily.
- During festivals and holidays, the sales shot up to Rs.10000 per minute as opposed to Rs.2000 per day, owing to the digitalisation of the ticketing system.
- When they fanned out to social media, they paved the way to use some of the most pivotal platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to obtain transparency. This enabled accessing and sharing information, press releases, relevant developments, troubleshooting procedures, customer feedbacks, complaints, and refunds.
- IT plays a major role in creating an online database, which paved the way to creating more jobs. Information Technology plays a vital role in the maintenance of online systems, and hence there was the creation of an Integrated Coaching Management system, Crew Management System, Signalling Maintenance Management System, and Track Management System.
The Railways has taken a prudent step by going digital and creating a widespread network for ticket booking and management.