New Delhi: Indian Railways’ PSU RailTel celebrated its 20th Foundation day on 25 November in New Delhi. Minister of Railways and Commerce & Industry, Piyush Goyal was the chief guest of the event.
Minister of State of Railways, Suresh Angadi graced the occasion as the Guest of Honour. Chairman, Railway Board, Vinod Kumar Yadav and Member Signal & Telecom, Railway Board, Pradeep Kumar, other Railway Board Members and Senior officials from railways, Department of Transport, railway PSUs, and senior officials of the telecom sector were also present on the occasion.
Speaking on the occasion through video conferencing, Goyal congratulated RailTel for its glorious journey. He said that RailTel is truly a millennial PSU with a short history behind and a long future ahead. RailTel has done a remarkable job by bringing Wi-Fi to every nook and corner of the country through Wi-Fi service on more than 5,400 railway stations. Now that the RailTel is coming of age, it needs to aim for greater heights and become a Rs 10,000 Crore company in the coming years, he added.
Praising the station Wi-Fi project of RailTel, Goyal said that Wi-Fi will help in making railway stations hubs of digital transformation as about 1.5 crore people use RailTel Wi-Fi in a month.
Goyal also shared some heartwarming stories of Station Wi-Fi helping people in achieving their dream. He shared a story of a porter in Kerala who used this Wi-Fi facility to study and clear Kerala Service Commission exam and Soni Sahu, a farmer, who is learning new techniques of farming using station Wi-Fi to increase productivity.
Speaking on the occasion, MoS (Railways), Angadi said that RailTel started as a Rs 15 crore company and now is now valued at more than Rs 1,000 crore. He congratulated RailTel for connecting more 5,400 stations to Wi-Fi in such a short time. He also advised the CMD of RailTel to expeditiously connect gram panchayats under Bharatnet to bring Wi-Fi to the rural population.
In his welcome address, CMD of RailTel, Puneet Chawla elaborated on the achievements made by RailTel in the past years. Chawla stressed on the fact that RailTel is one of the very few consistently profit-making, dividend-paying, debt-free telecom PSUs despite tough competition in the market. In the last financial year, RailTel achieved 1,017 crore turnover, with an operating margin of Rs. 184 crores.
Chawla spoke about some of the ongoing and new projects of RailTel, like station Wi-Fi project, Railwire Saathi, NIC e-office, video surveillance system, and modern train control system.
Chawla announced that RailTel has successfully started executing the Railwire Saathi Project to carryout assisted internet usage and to develop rural entrepreneurs who will man Railwire Saathi kiosks at stations to extend various online e-governance services of the Government of India to the rural population. The kiosks will be set up at 200 stations as a pilot project.
The program concluded with the award presentation ceremony felicitating the outstanding achievers (individual and team) of RailTel.