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Indian Railways has taken an important initiative in field of innovation through participation of start-ups and other entities. Minister of Railways, Communications and Electronics & Information Technology, Ashwini Vaishnaw on Monday launched “StartUps for Railways", a policy aimed at bringing scale and efficiency in the field of operation, maintenance and infrastructure creation through participation of very large and untapped startup ecosystem.

Speaking during the launch of the policy, Vaishnaw said that the long going discussions over integration of technology into Indian Railways have taken the firm shape in form of this initiative launched on Monday. 

Expressing his happiness on launch of this initiative the Minister said that through this platform start ups will get a good opportunity to connect with Railways. 

Out of over 100 problem statements received from different divisions, field offices/zones of Railways, 11 problem statements like rail fracture, headway reduction etc. have been taken up for phase 1 of this program. These will be presented before the start ups to find innovative solutions.

Railway Minister requested the startups to use this opportunity and ensured them of support from Indian Railways in form of 50 percent capital grant, assured market, scale and ecosystem

As per the new policy, Grant up to Rs. 1.5 Crore will be given to innovator on equal sharing basis with provision of milestone-wise payment. Trials of prototypes will be done in Railways. Enhanced funding will be provided to scale up deployment on successful performance of prototypes.

Complete process from floating of problem statement to development of prototype is online with defined time line to make it transparent and objective. Also, Selection of Innovators will be done by a transparent and fair system which will be dealt through online portal inaugurated by Minister of Railways.

Another feature of the new policy is that it will recognise innovation and developed Intellectual property rights (IPR) will remain with innovator only. Also, such products will get assured developmental order from the railways. 

The new policy will also facilitate de-centralization of complete product development process at divisional level to avoid delays.

In the month of May, field units were asked to provide Problem Areas. In response to it, around 160 problem statements have been received till date. To start with, 11 problems statements have been identified to deal via new Innovation Policy. These include: Broken Rail Detection System, Rail Stress Monitoring System, Headway Improvement System for suburban section interoperable with Indian Railways National ATP system, Automation of Track Inspection Activities, Design of superior Elastomeric Pad (EM Pad) for Heavy Haul freight Wagons, Development of on-line Condition Monitoring System for traction motors of 3-phase Electric Locomotives, Light-weight wagon for transporting commodities like Salt, Development of analytical tool by using digital data for improving passenger services, Track Cleaning Machine, App for post-training revision & self-service refresher courses, Use of Remote Sensing, Geomatics and GIS for bridge inspection.

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