The Indian Railways (IR) has received 297 proposals from various entities under the 'StartUps for Railways' initiative which was launched in June, Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said on August 12.
Railways officials said that the Railway Board will study the proposals that have come in and shortlist the startups whose solutions seem viable by the end of the year.
The IR's divisional railway managers will then work with selected startups to develop prototypes of the proposals that have come in, railway officials said.
The Indian Railways has received 43 proposals from startups to work on the national carrier's Broken Rail Detection System and another 42 proposals to help develop its on-line Condition Monitoring System for traction motors.
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Another 41 suggestions have come in to develop a mobile application for post-training revision and self-service refresher courses.
Forty startups have submitted proposals to help enhance the IR's automation of track inspection, while 39 proposals have been submitted to develop an analytical tool to improve passenger services.
The railways had June initiated a process to woo startups and stimulate innovative concepts and had even held a workshop in Mysuru in July.
The Ministry of Railways on June 13 had launched the Indian Railway Innovation Policy—‘StartUps for Railways’, with an annual budget of around Rs 40-50 crore, as part of its plans to invest in startups to find solutions to problems the Indian Railways is currently facing.
As part of the policy, the Indian Railways had invited proposals for eleven problem statements received from various divisions.
Under the policy, the IR will provide startups grants of 50 percent capital grant upto Rs 1.5 crore to develop prototypes of solutions for the railway's problem statements.
The IR has also assured startups that developed Intellectual property rights (IPR) will remain with innovators and that trials of prototypes will be done by the Railways.
Furthermore, enhanced funding will be provided to scale up deployment on the successful performance of prototypes.
The policy is expected to bring scale and efficiency in the field of operation, maintenance and infrastructure creation through the participation of a very large and untapped startup ecosystem.