Reported By: Nivedita Singh
Edited By: Pathikrit Sen Gupta
Last Updated: March 14, 2023, 17:54 IST
The reply to an RTI query filed by News18 shows around 1.2 crore senior citizens travelled by train in the calendar year 2022, generating an earning of Rs 150 crore. (Representational image: Shutterstock)
The Standing Committee, headed by BJP MP Radha Mohan Singh, asked the Railways that since the Covid crisis is over, it may review the policy so that the vulnerable and genuinely needy citizens could avail the facility at least in sleeper and 3AC classes
For the second time in less than a year, the Standing Committee on Railways has asked the ministry to restore the concession for senior citizens at least in the sleeper and 3AC coaches, which has been suspended since March 2020.
The committee, headed by BJP MP Radha Mohan Singh, asked the Railways that since the Covid crisis is over, it may review the policy so that the vulnerable and genuinely needy citizens could avail the facility in these classes.
“From the information furnished, the Committee note that the Covid situation has now been normalised and the Railways have achieved normal growth… The Committee… urge upon the Railways to consider empathically for resumption of concessions in fares to senior citizens particularly in Sleeper Class and 3A Class under intimation to this Committee,” the report tabled on Monday reads.
The Indian Railways used to offer a 40 per cent discount in fares to men aged 60 years or above, and for women, a 50 per cent discount was given if the age was at least 58 years. These concessions were granted in the fares of all classes of Mail /Express/Rajdhani/Shatabdi/Duronto group of trains.
Later, the ministry introduced the ‘Forgo Senior Citizen Concession Option’ for national development. The concession for senior citizens was withdrawn on March 20, 2020, in the wake of the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.
In August 2022, the committee, in its 12th Action Taken Report (17th Lok Sabha) on Passenger Reservation System, had also desired that the concessions to senior citizens available in pre-Covid times may be reviewed and considered at least in sleeper and 3AC so that the vulnerable and genuinely needy citizens could avail the facility in these classes.
Last month, News18 reported that the number of senior citizens travelling by train had dropped 85% between 2019 and 2022, which has pared down the earning from that category by more than 90%, according to Right to Information (RTI) Act data.
The reply to an RTI query filed by News18 shows around 1.2 crore senior citizens travelled by train in the calendar year 2022, generating an earning of Rs 150 crore. In 2019, there were 7.4 crore senior citizen train passengers who earned the Railways Rs 1,663 crore in revenue.
The number of senior citizens travelling on the Railways has constantly dropped since 2019 — from 7.4 crore to 1.8 crore in 2020, to 1.3 crore in 2021, and 1.2 crore last year.
The RTI data also showed that between 2019 and 2022, across all categories, the total tickets booked reported a jump of around 30%, and between 2021 and 2022, it increased by 12%. In 2019, 42 crore tickets were booked by the Railways generating an earning of Rs 36,380 crore. In 2022, this increased to 53.54 crore tickets which generated Rs 47,757 crore in revenue.
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