All railway stations, nearly 8,500 across the country including the ones in rural and remote areas will soon be equipped with Wi-Fi facilities at an approximate cost of Rs.700 crore ($110 million).
The national transporter, as part of the government’s determined Digital India initiative, has currently empowered Wi-Fi services at 216 major stations which have enabled about seven million rail passengers to use free internet facility.
A senior Railway Ministry official said, “Internet access has now become an important requirement in day-to-day working and we shall be providing this facility at all railway stations in the country.”
The plan finalised at a recent meeting suggests that while 1,200 stations have been identified for this facility to essentially cater to rail passengers, about 7,300 stations have been allocated to not only provide services to the passengers but also to the local people in rural and remote areas.
In rural and remote areas, the Wi-Fi facility will be offered to the local population as the part of the digital makeover of rural India for promoting e-governance. The railway stations in rural areas will have kiosks with Wi-Fi which will become digital hot spots to offer services like Aadhaar generation, digital banking, issuing birth and death certificates, paying bills, etc.
As per the timeline, while 600 stations are aimed at providing Wi-Fi facility by March 2018, the Railways plan to cover all 8,500 stations by March 2019.