While the parliament sessions are running in full swings, today was the day for the much awaited rail budget to be presented. Presenting his second Budget in the Lok Sabha, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu on Thursday said Indian Railways is setting aside Rs. 50 crore to provide innovation grants to startups. Prabhu added that Railways would be launching an innovation challenge administered by an Innovation Committee comprising reputed investors, representatives from the National Academy of Indian Railways, Railway Board and ‘Kayakalp’ headed by Ratan Tata.
Suresh Prabhu while announcing this said,
“We are setting aside a sum of Rs. 50 crore for providing innovation grants to employees, startups and growth oriented small businesses to support internal and external innovation. On an annual basis, we will seek out solutions to IR’s most critical problems through an Innovation Challenge. The initiative would be administered by an Innovation Committee comprising reputed investors, representatives from the National Academy of Indian Railways, Railway Board and ‘Kayakalp’ headed by Ratan Tata,”
So far during his tenure as the Rail Minster, Suresh Prabhu has shown his keen interest and inclination towards the use of technology to bring innovation in railways. Be it the use of social media to address commuter grievances or setting up an Innovation Council, Prabhu has delivered on most of the fronts. Presenting his maiden budget last year, Prabhu had said the railways will create a technology portal to seek innovative and creative technological solutions to improve services and cater to problems faced by railways. And taking that vision further, the rail budget of 2016, sees some important and experienced names being included in the list of who will mentor this programme.