The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved allocation of 5 MHz spectrum in the premium 700 MHz band to the Indian Railways for improving its communication and signalling systems. The decisions were taken at a Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The railway ministry said that the spectrum allocation will provide secure and reliable voice, video and data communication services for operational, safety and security applications.

The technology will be used for signalling and train protection systems and ensure seamless communication between loco pilots and guards. It will enable an Internet of Things, or IoT-based remote asset monitoring, especially of coaches, wagons and locos, and provide a live video feed of CCTV cameras in the train coaches.

The railways currently relies on optical fibre for its communication network but with the allocation of fresh spectrum, it will be able to use high-speed radio on a real-time basis, Javadekar said at the press briefing.

The project with an estimated cost of Rs 25,000 crore will be completed in the next five years.

Meanwhile, the Indian Railways has also approved the Train Collision Avoidance System, an indigenously developed automatic train protection system. The ministry said that the new system will help in avoiding train collisions thereby reducing accidents and ensuring passenger safety.