Railway Agents misused Demonetisation Waivers: CAG

The 132 JTBS were from the Central, Eastern, Northeast Frontier, North Eastern, North Western and Western Railway (CR, ER, NFR, NER, NWR and WR) zones.

NEW DELHI: In November 2016, 132 Indian Railways’ Jansadharan Ticket Booking Sewaks (JTBS) took unfair advantage of a three-day-long waiver facility provided by the government to allow transactions at railway ticketing counters after the shock demonetisation order of November 8, and deposited unusually big quantities of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes on the three subsequent days, a CAG report has found out.

The 132 JTBS were from the Central, Eastern, Northeast Frontier, North Eastern, North Western and Western Railway (CR, ER, NFR, NER, NWR and WR) zones.

On November 9, 2016, the Railway Board, had issued a directive that the Rs.500 and Rs.1,000 bank notes would not cease to be legal tender from November 9, 2016 until November 11, 2016, to the extent of transactions at railway ticketing counters for purchase of tickets, for which complete records were required to be maintained.

The CAG report said: “Audit test checked the transactions carried out by 132 JTBSs during 07 November 2016 to 11 November 2016 on 59 stations of six Zonal Railways. A comparison of deposits made by the JTBSs for five days of pre and post demonetisation revealed that post demonetization, total cash deposited by these 132 JTBSs exceeded their normal pre-demonetization cash deposit by significant amounts…”

The national auditor observed — “No specific directives/instructions were issued by the Railway Board in respect of cash deposited by the JTBSs in Railway’s Deposit Accounts essential for issue/sale of unreserved tickets through computerised Unreserved Ticketing System. 132 JTBS in six Zonal Railways took undue advantage of the facility provided by the Government of India to allow transactions at railway ticketing counters and deposited specified bank notes with the Railways post demonetisation instead of depositing the cash in the banks”.

Started in 2008 in order to cut down long queues at railway stations, the JTBS scheme permits an individual to sell railway tickets outside railway stations. The JTBS charges Rs 1 per ticket but can sell only unreserved tickets and cannot issue concession tickets.

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