Indian Railways urges passengers to give up rail ticket subsidy if they don't need it; nationwide awareness campaign planned

Not many consumers are probably aware that just like the option of giving up LPG subsidy, they also have the option of giving up their rail ticket subsidy. For many months now, those who are under such categories as 'senior citizen', that are entitled to concessions in terms of rail fare, have had the option of foregoing it fully or in part while booking a ticket online or at the counter.

The Railways is now working towards launching a nationwide campaign to bring awareness about this option that has been in operation since 2017.

This move was introduced to make people give up the subsidy if they didn't need it. The aim is to use the money thus generated for the betterment of rail services.

 Indian Railways urges passengers to give up rail ticket subsidy if they dont need it; nationwide awareness campaign planned

Representational image. AFP

Right now, the categories that are entitled to concession are: Senior Citizens (different slabs for men and women), Physically-Challenged (Divyaang) and accredited journalists.

While booking a ticket online by accessing IRCTC website, a senior citizen gets three options — avail concession; forego 50 percent concession and forego full concession.

On the basis of the option chosen, the price of a ticket varies. A senior citizen will have to pay the full amount for a regular ticket, if s/he foregoes concession, like any other passenger not eligible for any concession.

According to Railways sources, from July 2017, when Indian Railways introduced the "give it up" scheme for senior citizen passengers to forego their concession either in part or full, the option was availed by 48 lakh passengers, earning the railways an extra sum of Rs 78 crore.

The railway ministry is also looking at another option for suburban network. The option may be to give up subsidy on the monthly season ticket that is highly underpriced.

In cities like Mumbai and Kolkata and its suburbs, where the monthly season ticket is popular, the 'give it up’ option will be available for those passengers who can afford to buy tickets at full price.

A Railways source said that the option of either availing concession or giving it up won't be mandatory, but voluntary in nature.

The Railways is finalising this 'give up’ option for passengers to voluntarily give up the subsidy component in tickets, following its commitment to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) to launch the initiative within the first 100 days of the NDA government's second term.

"This initiative will be a nationwide launch like in the case of LPG cylinders meant for cooking. The objective is to create awareness among masses. Till now many are not aware of it. The Railways also wants passengers to be able to easily opt for this initiative while booking tickets at counters," a source in the Railways said.

Updated Date: Jul 11, 2019 11:56:24 IST