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The Union Cabinet on Wednesday allocated 5 MHz spectrum in 700 MHz band for Indian Railways in order to boost hi-speed radio communication.

I&B minister Prakash Javadekar said at a press briefing in New Delhi that the Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, took 3 important decisions, including on MSP for kharif season and allocation of spectrum to Railways for its communication.

25,000 crore will be spent in next 5 years for signal modernization and 5G spectrum implementation in Railways. Collision avoidance system developed by 4 Indian companies under Make-In -India and real-time communication will make rail travel safer, faster. The Cabinet thus approved TCAS (Train Collision Avoidance System), an indigenously developed ATP (Automatic Train Protection) System.

"With this spectrum, Indian Railways has envisaged to provide LTE (Long Term Evolution) based Mobile Train Radio Communication on its route," the Ministry of Railways said in a statement.

He also said that that optical fibre is being used currently. However, with the availability of spectrum, there will be radio communication. It will also make rail travel safer, Javadekar said.

The purpose of the LTE for Indian Railways is to provide secure and reliable voice, video and data communication services for operational, safety and security applications. It will be used for modern signalling and train protection systems and ensure seamless communication between loco pilots and guards. It will also enable Internet of Things (IoT) based remote asset monitoring especially of coaches, wagons & locos, and live video feed of CCTV cameras in the train coaches to ensure efficient, safer and faster train operations.

The Spectrum charges may be levied based on formula basis as prescribed by Department of Telecommunications for Royalty Charges and License Fee for Captive use as recommended by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India.

The cabinet also approved increase in minimum support pricres for summer sown crops, announced Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar.

The MSP of paddy (common) has been increased from 1,868 per quintal in 2020-21 to 1,940 per quintal in 2021-22.

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