The decision was taken after figures showed that following the introduction of the scheme last year more than 19 lakh people gave up the concession, resulting in a saving of more than Rs.32 crore. However, Railways Offers Up To 100% Concession On Ticket Prices To Some Passengers!
NEW DELHI: Buoyed by its success with senior citizens, the Indian Railways is set to extend its ‘Give it up’ scheme to include other concession holders to offset its nearly Rs. 33,000-crore subsidy burden in annual passenger fares. The decision was taken after figures showed that following the introduction of the scheme last year – by which senior citizens can opt to give up 50 per cent of their fare subsidy, more than 19 lakh people gave up the concession, resulting in a saving of more than Rs. 32 crore between July 22, 2017, and March 31, 2018 for the railways.
“We realised that in 2016 when we were telling people to give up their concession by 100 per cent, many did not. In 2017, when we gave them the option of giving up 50 per cent, many came forward,” a Railway Ministry official said. “This is completely voluntary and now we’re preparing a campaign to encourage more such concession holders to come forward,” the official said. Railways extends passenger fare concessions in 53 categories, which include passengers with disabilities, cancer, thalassemia, heart and kidney patients, war widows students and others, incurring a loss of about Rs. 33,000 crore annually. As part of its campaign to encourage people in these categories to give up their subsidy, even if in parts, the railways will send each senior citizen, who gave up their subsidy, a personalised letter by Railway Minister Piyush Goyal.
It is also in the process of setting up a website on which it will update realtime, not only the money saved by the railways, but also the data on senior citizens who gave up their subsidy. The website will also carry testimonials from them. “Plans are afoot to send newsletters to these senior citizens, felicitation of some of them by the minister, SMSes thanking them for their efforts and a special token of appreciation for them by the train crew during their train journeys,” the official said, explaining the campaign. The idea, the official said, is to create awareness and encourage more people to give up the concession on fares.
Between July 2017 and March 31, 2018 – more than 10 lakh senior citizens had given up 100 per cent of their concession, while more than nine lakh had given up 50 per cent of their concession, resulting in a saving of more than Rs.32.30 crore. In total, since August 2016, when senior citizens had the option to give up 100 per cent of their subsidy, until March 2018, 40 lakh of them have given up their subsidy, allowing the national transporter to save around Rs. 77 crore.
Indian Railways Offers Up To 100% Concession On Ticket Prices To Some Passengers, here are the details
Indian Railways offer concessions on ticket prices to different categories and the quantum of these concession ranges from 25 per cent to 100 per cent. According to Indian Railways portal-indianrail.gov.in, there are some general rules which the passenger must know in order to avail the concession. Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), the online ticket booking portal currently only offers concession on senior citizen tickets. Other concession tickets can be availed at the Passenger Reservation System (PRS) counters at any Indian Railways reservation office, said IRCTC. Children below 12 years need to pay only 50 per cent fare, as for normal tickets.
- Disabled passengers: Orthopedically handicapped/ paraplegic persons who cannot travel without escort – for any purpose, blind persons traveling alone or with an escort for any purpose, mentally retarded persons who cannot travel without escort – for any purpose can avail up to 75 per cent concession in second class, sleeper, first class, third AC, AC chair car and 50 per cent concession in 1AC and 2AC. 25 per cent concession is available for such specially abled passengers in 3AC and AC chair car of Rajdhani and Shatabadi trains. One escort in also available for same element of concession. In case of deaf and dumb person travelling alone or with an escort – for any purpose, can avail up to 50 per cent concession in 2nd class, sleeper and 1st class.
- Senior citizens: For men who are either 60 years old or above, Indian Railways give 40 per cent concession in all classes. Women who are either 58 years old or above can avail 50 per cent concession in all classes. This concession is also available in Rajdhani, Shatabdi and Duronto trains.
- Students: Students going to hometown and educational tours and who belong to general category can avail 50 per cent concession in second class and sleeper class. For SC/ST category of such students, the concession available is 75 per cent in both the classes. Girls up to graduation and boys up to class 12 (including students of Madrasa) between home and school are eligible for free second class MST.
- War widows: War widows traveling for any purpose, widows of policemen and paramilitary personnel killed in action against terrorists and extremists traveling for any purpose, widows of defence personnel killed in action against terrorists and extremists traveling for any purpose and widows of martyrs of operation Vijay in Kargil in 1999 traveling for any purpose can avail 75 per cent concession in second and sleeper class.
- Patients: Cancer patients traveling alone or with an escort for treatment/periodic check-up, can avail 75 per cent concession in second class, 1st class, AC chair car, 100 per cent concession in sleeper and 3AC, 50 per cent concession in 1AC and 2AC. Thalassemia patients traveling alone or with an escort for treatment/periodic check-up, heart patients traveling alone or with an escort for heart surgery, kidney patients traveling alone or with an escort for kidney transplant operation/dialysis can avil 75 per cent concession in second class, 1st class and AC chair car. 50 per cent concession is applicable for such patients in 1AC and 2AC.
Soon, buying train tickets using Debit Cards may be reality
Following the slow response via smart cards in Automatic Ticket Vending Machines (ATVMs), the Railway Board is planning to make provisions for allowing debit and credit cards to buy local train tickets. The move is aimed at increasing flexibility of buying rail tickets. On the Central Railway line, around 25 per cent sale of tickets are through the ATVM and while it corresponds to 18 per cent on the Western Railway line. “We are working on accommodating the debit and credit cards in ATVMs.
Once the tests are successful, it can be replicated,” said an official from the Railway Board. A circular has also been issued internally which states that the Centre for Railway Information Systems (CRIS) will explore the possibility of introducing the proposed facility. Sources in the railways have said that digital transactions have augmented since demonetisation was put to effect and people would welcome the move of introducing debit/credit cards in ATVM machines. Meanwhile, new ATVM machines have already been introduced on the Central Railway lines and the same will soon be done on the Western Railway lines.
If any changes are made in the system, then it can be incorporated in it too.