With an aim to provide connectivity in distant areas, railways will set up Wi-Fi hotspot booths at about 500 stations and help people to access an array of online services, including several government schemes.
Launched as Railwire Saathi, the Wi-Fi kiosks will function like a PCO for the Digital India and assist people to use services like online banking, e-commerce, e-ticketing for train and bus services, also offering them access to open school/university and insurance schemes among others.
Mobile and DTH recharge, automated form filling, are other services which the Railwire Saathi is likely to provide in areas with limited connectivity.
According to a senior railway ministry official, the Railwire Saathi targets to provide connectivity to the isolated areas and at the same time offer jobs opportunities in such rural areas.
According to an official the scheme is expected to be operational by May.
The Railwire Saathi is a Wi-Fi private enterprise model where unwaged youths, preferably women, can be trained and supported to set up a Wi-Fi hotspot and deliver a platform to online services which will lead to a sustainable business.
While railways is providing about 400 stations with free Wi-Fi service in connotation with Google, this particular scheme has dual objective – providing jobs as well as connectivity.
RailTel, the telecom support of railways, would execute the scheme throughout the country.
Though there are numerous schemes for farmers, common man, minorities and many avenues for completing education, people in remote areas are usually not aware of them or find it tough to access them, said the official.
Unwaged youth who wants to be RailWire Saathi would be required to contact RailTel for the necessary training.
The training course will be sanctioned by National Skill Development Council (NSDC). After being trained by RailTel, the candidate will get a certificate which he/she can use to get loan under the PM’s Mudra scheme.
Using that loan money, they will install and manage the Wi-Fi hotspot kiosks as per design provided by RailTel.