Railways, Vistadome - Current Affairs Questions and Answers

1)   Which rail based initiatives were launched on 12th July 2017 by Rail Ministry?

a. RAIL CLOUD Project
b. Nivaran Grievance Portal
c. Both a and b
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Both a and b

Explanation:
Minister of Railways Shri Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu launched the following Initiatives:-

1. RAIL CLOUD PROJECT.

2. NIVARAN-Grievance Portal (First IT Application on Rail Cloud).

3. Cashless treatment Scheme in Emergency (CTSE) Scheme and Handing over of 1st CTSE Card.

Salient Features of the Initiatives Launched

RailCloud

Indian Railway has started a strategic IT initiative, christened IR-OneICT, for enterprise wide digital single platform with an aim to improve customer satisfaction, improve revenue and effective, efficient and safe operations.

To achieve the goal of single digital platform for IR a few foundational projects need to be implemented first, establishment of RailCloud is one such project.

Cloud Computing is the emerging technology for faster and on demand commensurate deployment of Server resources which result in reduced cost.

Accordingly, RailCloud Phase-I has been sanctioned at the cost of Rs. 53.55 Cr under PH-17, DF(3) in FY 17-18. Potential benefits to Railways after implementation of RailCloud are:

  • Faster and on-demand deployment of application- RailCloud will pave the way for swifter deployment of application (within 24 hrs as compared to conventional time running into weeks and months).

    At the same time the cloud hardware and environment will be available for rigorous testing of the new applications.
  • Optimum use of Servers and storage- The technology enables maximising the usage of the available server and storage resulting in accommodation of bigger data and more applications within same server space.
  • Utilization of existing infrastructure as part of Cloud- The existing resources available with railway will be subsumed in RailCloud thereby ensuring that expenditure is minimized in acquiring new resources.
  • Rapid scalability and elasticity- Server and storage space will scale up and down as per the demand. This makes the system suitable to meet the higher demand at peak hours with less expenditure.
  • IT Security enhancement and Standardization: The cloud shall be equipped with security features as per the latest GOI guidelines, the security features can be updated in one go for all the applications hosted on the cloud.

    This will be resulting in enhanced security and stability with less expenditure and effort.
  • Cost reduction: The server and storage infrastructure will be deployed as per the requirement, resulting in substantial savings to railway as expenditure will be incurred as and when required.

    This will be instead of upfront shelling out money on procurement of expensive servers.
  • Better User Experience: In Cloud, the server resources are constantly scaled up or down as per the no. of users logged on to the system. This ensures a better user experience to the customer.

    The Managed Network and Virtual Desktop Interface (VDI) services are also being planned, in near future, for providing faster and more efficient work environment to each rail worker.
NIVARAN-Grievance Portal’First IT application on RailCloud

‘NIVARAN-Grievance Portal’ is the first IT application to be launched on the RailCloud.

It is the platform for resolution of service related grievances of serving and former railway employees.

The existing application was hosted on a conventional server; it has been made cloud-ready and being migrated as the first cloud application of Indian Railways.

It will save significant revenue and at the same time user experience will also improve.

Cashless treatment Scheme in Emergency (CTSE)

Railway provides Comprehensive Health Care Facilities to its beneficiaries through in-house health Institutions, supplementing with referrals to recognized hospitals whenever necessary.

The beneficiaries include retired employees and their dependent family members.

Large no. of retired beneficiaries lives in the newly developed suburbs of various cities. These parts of the city are often far away from the established Railway Health Institutions.

In this scenario the RELHS beneficiaries coming to Railway Health Institutions in routine is acceptable, however in emergency situations, precious time (Golden Hour) is lost in travel.

To provide immediate care to its retired employees in ‘Golden Hour’ Railway Board has decided to roll out a “Cashless treatment Scheme in Emergency’ (CTSE), in empanelled hospitals, for retired employees and their dependent family members.

CTSE Scheme: Know More
  • Rather than creating a separate time and resource consuming vertical the scheme has used the existing resources by bringing on board the UIDAI and ARPAN database. Railway has not incurred any capital expenditure on the scheme,
  • M/s UTIITSL has developed the software in consultation with Railway and shall be paid on per bill processed basis.
  • The online processing will ensure swifter disposal of bills in a transparent manner.
  • At present the scheme has been rolled out in four metro cities of Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai, based on the experience of this pilot the scheme may be extended to the whole of country.


2)   RLDA has inked an MoU with which corporation for development of railway stations as per global standards?

a. NBCC
b. NCI
c. IRCTC
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: NBCC

Explanation:
Rail Land Development Authority (RLDA) has inked MoU with National Building Construction Corporation (NBCC) for redevelopment of 10 railway stations across the country on global standards.

The identified stations to be taken up initially by NBCC, a PSU of Urban Development Ministry for redevelopment are Tirupati, Nellore, Puducherry, Sarai Rohilla (Delhi), Madgaon, Lucknow, Gomtinagar, Kota, Thane (New) and Ernakulam.

RLDA is an arm of the Indian Railways for commercial exploitation of rail land.

As per the MoU, a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) will be formed at the national level as a Joint Venture (JV) company between RLDA and NBCC on 50:50 shareholding basis.

The SPV in turn will enter into City Support Agreements (CSA) with respective cities for the redevelopment of stations and commercial development on Railway land in alignment with the Smart City Plans of respective cities. RLDA will lease out the land to the SPV for a fixed lease period of up to 45 years at a nominal token cost for development and NBCC as Project Management Consultant will execute the project work on behalf of SPV.

Earnings from the commercial development of land parcels at stations will be utilized to redevelop the stations for creating necessary infrastructure and better passenger amenities.

The surplus earnings will go to RLDA which would in turn would be remitted to Zonal railways.

The entire revenue from lease revenues from built up spaces will be deposited in an SPV’s ESCROW account which is to be managed by a Committee to be formed.

Know More About Indian Railways: World's Largest PSU employer

  • The Indian Railways has embarked on an ambitious project to redevelop 403 stations with the participation of private players, public sector and foreign agencies.
  • It has taken up this redevelopment programme of stations in a big way by adopting a multi-pronged strategy.
  • It has chosen PPP model and is also roping in varied agencies to execute the project namely its own PSUs, other Central government PSUs, foreign countries through government-to-government (G2G) cooperation and state governments.
  • Earlier in October 2016, MoU was also signed between the Railway Ministry and Urban Development Ministry for integrated planning for redevelopment of railway stations in the cities included in the Smart Cities Mission and AMRUT schemes.


3)   Which country did India ink a pact with to upgrade railways?

a. Australia
b. Denmark
c. France
d. New Zealand
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: France

Explanation:
The French Minister of State for Transport, Marine Affairs and Fisheries Alain Vidalies signed an agreement with Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu.

This is for collaboration in areas such as high-speed and semi-high speed rail, modernisation of current operations and infrastructure, station renovation and operations, suburban trains and safety systems, operations and security.

On semi-high-speed, the parties had decided in 2015 to carry out a technical and execution study for upgrading the speed of passengers trains on the current rail corridor between Delhi and Chandigarh (244 km) up to 200 kmph.

Important Facts: France

  • France PM is Bernard Cazeneuve
  • The capital of France is Paris and its Currency is Euro
  • French Minister of State for Transport is Alain Vidalies.


4)   An independent regulatory agency for ___________ has been approved by cabinet.

a. Railway tariffs
b. Railway safety
c. Railway upgradation
d. Railway security
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Railway tariffs

Explanation:
The Union Cabinet approved a proposal on April 5, 2017 for setting up an independent regulatory agency for railways which will recommend revision of tariffs.

This is intended to depoliticise the revision of passenger fares.

After merging the railway budget with the Union Budget, the move is seen as another step in reforming the state-run transporter.

It also aims at making the process of revision of both passenger and freight fares transparent.

The regulator will have only recommendatory powers, but it could pave the way towards revising passenger fares, which are at present highly subsidised.

Freight rates are likely to come down as the cost is likely to be balanced against higher passenger fares, officials said. S

The regulator will lay down principles and rules for determining tariff in passenger and freight segments in a transparent manner.

The regulator will also ensure fair play and a level playing field for private or foreign players.

Private investment in the railways has been low be cause of uncertainties and frequent policy changes.

The regulator will also lay down standards for efficiency and performance which will lead to customer satisfaction in both passenger and freight services.

The authority will also be mandated to check deviations, if any , from the laid-down performance standards and suggest remedial measures which will empower customers -both passengers and freight operators.

The authority will also suggest guidelines for determining track access charge which will ensure better utilisation of dedicated freight corridors.

Railway Regulatory Agency: Know More

  • The authority, to be set up by August 1 this year, will have a chairman and three members and can engage experts from different areas.
  • The government chose the executive order route to ensure setting up of the regulator at the earliest, said an official.
  • The independence of the regulator will be ensured through a separate budget and a stringent appointment and removal process for the chairman and members.
  • The appointment will be done by the Centre from the panel of names recommended by the search-and-selection committee headed by the cabinet secretary and the rail board chairman, DoPT secretary and chairman of any other regulatory agency nominated by the cabinet secretary as members.
  • The chairman and members will have a tenure of five years and can be removed by the Centre on grounds such as insolvency , conviction, misbehaviour, physical and mental incapability.


5)   In which year was the Rail Budget first merged with the general budget?

a. 1924
b. 1945
c. 2005
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: None of the above

Explanation:
Lok Sabha passed the Railway Appropriation Bills and supplementary demands for grants this year.

The total proposed outlay for 2017-218 is INR 131,000 crore. This marks an 8 percent increase from the 2016-2017 budget estimate of INR 121,000 crore.

Railway revenue for 2017-2018 is estimated at INR 178,350 crore recording a 9 percent increase from revised estimates of 2016-2017.

The total revenue in 2016-2017 undershot budget estimates by INR 6300 crore.

The House also passed Railways supplementary demands for grants 2016-2017 and the demands for excess grants for 2013-2014.

Railway finances were presented along with the Union Budget. This is the first time since 1924 that the Railway Budget was merged with the Union Budget.

Lok Sabha: Know More

  • Speaker: Sumitra Mahajan, BJP (Since 6 June 2014)
  • Deputy Speaker: M. Thambidurai, AIADMK (Since 13 August 2014)
  • Leader of the House: Narendra Modi, BJP (Since 26 May 2014)


6)   Which Indian UT got approval for its first railway line?

a. Daman and Diu
b. Lakshadweep
c. Andaman and Nicobar Islands
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Andaman and Nicobar Islands

Explanation:
The Union Railway Ministry has approved a 240-KM broad-gauge railway line project in Andaman and Nicobar islands.

The first railway line on Andaman and Nicobar Islands will connect Port Blair (capital) in the south with Diglipur, the biggest town on the north Andaman Island.

Presently both destinations are linked by a 350-km bus service that takes over 14 hours and a ship that takes around 24 hours and there is no air connectivity.

Following completion, it will give fillip to tourism from the current 4.5 lakh visitors a year to around 6 lakh a year.

About A & N Islands:

  • Andaman and Nicobar Islands are a group of islands at the juncture of the Bay of Bengal and Andaman Sea.
  • It is one of the seven UTs of India.
  • It comprises two island groups, the Andaman Islands and the Nicobar Islands, separated by the 10°N parallel.
  • The islands host the Andaman and Nicobar Command, the only tri-service geographical command of the Indian Armed Forces.
  • The islands are home to the only known Paleolithic people, the Sentinelese people.


7)   Indian Railways has inked a pact with which EU nation to run high speed trains in the country?

a. Germany
b. France
c. Spain
d. Italy
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Germany

Explanation:
Reducing travel time significantly, the Indian Railways will form a pact with Germany for running high-speed trains in the nation

  • Pact will strengthen ties between the two countries for bilateral cooperation in the rail sector
  • German Minister Alexander Dobrindt will visit the capital city from Oct 12-15 thereby sealing the deal
  • Both rail ministers will hold talks at Rail Bhavan and the ministers will focus on deepening collaboration and strengthening ties in railways and high speed trains


8)   Which NE state will have the country’s longest rail tunnel along with the world’s tallest girder rail bridge?

a. Assam
b. Manipur
c. Mizoram
d. Meghalaya
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Manipur

Explanation:
Indian Railways took another step towards connecting the NE with the rest of India through good rail network by laying the foundation for Imphal station and announced commencement of country’s longest rail tunnel and world’s tallest girder rail bridge.

  • Tunnel will be built on Jiribam- Tupul- Imphal new broad gauge railway line in Manipur- the 111 km log line has 37 tunnels on it.
  • New tunnel will be 11.55 km long more than famous Pir Panjal railway tunnel in J&K.
  • The world’s tallest girder rail bridge over Iring river will be equal to two Qutub Minars stacked atop each other.
  • Currently, the Malarijeka via duct on Montenegro Europe with a height of 139m is the highest rail bridge.


9)   Who has been appointed Railway Chairman Board for another two years?

a. AK Mittal
b. AK Bansal
c. AK Aggarwal
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: AK Mittal

Explanation:
Term of the present Railway Board Chairman AK Mittal has been extended for another two years.

  • Mittal was appointed on December 31, 2014, and his tenure was supposed to end on July 30 this year.
  • Before this, he was Member Staff in the Railway Board.
  • Current chairman Railway Board Shri AK Mittal has been reappointed as the new Chairman Railway Board for the period of 2 years till he attains the age of 62 years w.e.f 1.08.2016.
  • AK Mittal was earlier GM of South Western Railway and was looking after the additional charge of General Lanager, South Central Railway, SCR (HQ Secunderabad).
  • Mittal is a Bachelor of Engineering and an officer of 1976 batch of Indian Railways Services of Stores.


10)   Railway passengers booking tickets through IRCTC website can avail travel accident cover of how much?

a. INR 5 lakhs
b. INR 10 lakhs
c. INR 15 lakhs
d. INR 20 Lakhs
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: INR 10 lakhs

Explanation:
Railway passengers booking tickets through the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation can avail travel accident cover of INR 10 lakh at a premium of one rupee.

  • IRCTC CMD AK Manocha indicated the insurance cover is besides the compensation provided by the railways in cases of accidents to valid ticket holders.
  • Insurance will offer coverage against death, injury and disabilities caused due to accidents.


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