The Centre for Railway Information Systems (CRIS) designs, develops, implements and maintains most of the important information systems of Indian Railways. It is located in Chanakyapuri, New Delhi. CRIS was established by the India's Ministry of Railways in 1986.
In 1982, Indian Railways (IR) set up a central organisation to computerise freight operations. The Ministry of Railways saw the need in 1986 for a dedicated, autonomous organisation and established CRIS, an umbrella organisation for all information technology-related activities on Indian Railways. It was tasked with designing, developing and implementing the Freight Operations Information System (FOIS) and its communications infrastructure. CRIS began functioning in July 1986 as an autonomous organisation headed by an executive director (later renamed managing director).
A unique feature of CRIS is the collaboration by IT literates from Indian Railways. Systems managed by CRIS have been recognised by Computerworld. CRIS received the Prime Minister Award for Excellence in Public Administration on 21 April 2008, and the IBM Beacon and Top Star Awards for e-working on 1 May of that year.
CRIS held a symposium, "IT Can Happen in Government", in New Delhi on 1 July 2010 after a previous symposium on 6 July 2009. The symposium explored challenges faced by government agencies in meeting their IT needs and creating IT systems. A seminar on big data was held in July 2014, followed by a one on smart cities in July 2015 and on mobility and mobile apps in 2018. CRIS seminars are held annually, with the most-recent one (on Digital Transformation of Large Enterprises) on 1 July 2019.
In December 2019, the Ministry of Railways was considering a proposal to disband the CRIS and merge its operations with RailTel Corporation of India Ltd.
CRIS designs, develops, implements and maintains information systems for Indian Railways. It has also developed, implemented and maintained IT systems for the Andaman and Nicobar Islands ship-ticketing system. The number of projects handled by CRIS has increased from three in 2000 to more than 80 by 2018. Most of the softwares developed by CRIS are outsourced.
COA (Control Office Application), which assists train controllers (despatchers) in planning and tracking the movement of trains across the network, shares its data with applications such as NTES (with which passengers can obtain a train's location and expected movement) and FOIS. Train punctuality reports are generated through ICMS (Integrated Coaching Management System), which also receives data from COA.
Major IR projects
- Computerisation of the Freight Operations Information System: The FOIS enables management and control of freight movement, optimised asset utilisation and the generation of invoices. Many of IR's larger freight customers pay through an electronic payment gateway interfaced with the FOIS. About 72 percent of the railway's freight revenue is paid electronically.
- Passenger Reservation System (PRS): A nationwide online passenger reservation and ticketing system, developed and maintained by CRIS, was developed in C and Fortran on a Digital OpenVMS operating system using RTR (Reliable Transaction Router) as middleware. Also known as CONCERT (Country-wide Network of Computerised Enhanced Reservation and Ticketing), it interconnects the four regional computing systems (in New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai) into a national PRS grid. It allows a passenger anywhere to book train tickets from any station to any station. PRS handles reservations, changes, cancellations and refunds, reserving over 1.6 million seats and berths daily. Complex rules, validations and fare-computation techniques are interwoven in the application.
- Next Generation e-ticketing (NGeT): The Internet-based E-ticketing reservation system, developed for IRCTC, that connects at the back-end to PRS.
- Computerisation of Indian Railways' Unreserved Ticketing System. Unreserved ticketing is a major component of IR's ticket volume, and an important source of revenue. UTS delivers fast unreserved ticketing from dedicated counters, replacing manual printed-card tickets with centralised, online sales. The architecture integrates with handheld terminals, smart cards, vending machines and UTS Mobile app & website utsonmobile.indianrail.gov.in.
- National Train Enquiry System, for latest train running times and live train tracking
- Web-enabled claims: Web-based software enables the public to file and track claims online.
- Rail Budget Compilation System (RBCS): Developed for budgetary input from Indian Railways zones and production units, RBCS facilitates data capture, database construction, demand analysis and estimate pruning for the railway budget.
- Case Monitoring System: the online peoples' representatives demands monitoring and redress system
- I-Pas is a comprehensive payroll and accounting system which has been extended throughout Indian Railways.
- Workshop Information SystEm (WISE): A MIS project for railway workshops in Kharagpur, Jagadhri, Ajmer, Kota, Charbagh, Liluah, Kanchrapara, Matunga, Lower Parel, Parel, Bhusawal, Secunderabad, Lallaguda and Jamalpur. WISE provides a report for workshop management using the Oracle DBMS, and is being upgraded to an ERP-based system.
- Crew management: Crew Management System (CMS) software provides real-time railway crew information. Information includes location, status, train assignment, time off and continuing education. The software issues SMS alerts to management and supervisors. It can book crew for coaching, shunting and freight service. The software supports safety monitoring of the crew by inspectors, assessing crew knowledge with a quiz administered through kiosks in crew lobbies, and provides up-to-date safety circulars.
- Control Office Application (COA): Enables rail-traffic controllers to manage trains in their section, and is operational in all division control offices. The COA interfaces with other applications (such as NTES) to provide train information to passengers and managers.
- E-Procurement System: Provides a secure, fair and transparent method of materials procurement through a web-based interface. It enables suppliers to securely upload their tenders to a central server in encrypted form, which can be decrypted only by authorised railway officials after the tender opening. All timestamps are authenticated by the National Physical Laboratory. The system is operational on all zone railways, and units and has been extended to CORE, RDSO, RailTel and the Kolkata Metro. E-Auction, launched in March 2012, has been adopted by all zone railways and production units. A payment gateway was implemented in January 2012, and about INR280 crore (INR2.8 billion) in online funds was transferred by February 2014.
- Software for Locomotive Asset Management (SLAM): Manages all aspects of electric-locomotive maintenance
- An ERP-based system was implemented at the Integral Coach Factory in Chennai in January 2012.
- Automatic fare-collection and passenger-control systems for Metro Railway in Kolkata using RFID technology
- The Track Management System (TMS) manages all aspects of track maintenance.
- CEP is an umbrella project which includes all the projects related to civil engineering.
- Integrated Material Management System (iMMS) manages all aspects of material procurement and stocking, including e-auctioning of scrap.