New Delhi: In order to boost the earnings of Indian Railways, the government is mulling implementing a ‘give it up’ scheme where it will ask passengers to sacrifice the subsidy given to them on train ticket bookings. The Piyush Goyal-led Ministry is currently working on a plan that would allow passengers to voluntarily give up, either a part or the entire subsidy component given to them on their train tickets. A senior Railway Ministry official aware of the development “The railways has submitted a 100-day plan to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) to increase the earnings.”
The move comes in the wake of Railways commitment to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) to launch the initiative within first 100 days of the second term of Modi government. Currently, Indian Railways, on an average collects only 53 per cent of the cost of passengers transport operations from tickets and the remaining 47 per cent is given to them as subsidy. The official said the idea was to urge passengers to give up the subsidy on the train tickets — like people were given the option of renouncing the subsidy on liquified petroleum gas (LPG) cylinders.
Railways subsidy, however, is different than Modi government’s flagship Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMLA) as here the benefit of the subsidy will not be transferred to the citizen and rather it will be utilised to build a better and a modern rail system across the country.
However, the Ministry of Railways has made it clear that giving up of subsidy will not be compulsory and passengers will have the option of buying the train ticket with or without subsidy. Those who give up subsidy will end up paying more for their train journey.
According to the official, the Centre for Railway Information Systems (CRIS) will make the required changes in the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corp (IRCTC) website to offer the option of purchasing the ticket with or without subsidy. Currently, Indian Railways earns around Rs 5,000 crore by selling tickets. “We have put a target of earning about Rs 56,000 in 2019-20, and through the ‘give it up’ scheme this can be achieved,” an official
The railways will advertise aggressively on different media platforms asking people to forego their subsidies on train tickets. The official also stated that as the proposal prepared by the Railway Board was with the PMO and will be converted into reality by the end of August this year.
Indian Railways, in its 100-day plan, also aims to bring down by five hours the travel time between the busy Delhi-Howrah and Delhi-Mumbai routes with an investment of about Rs 14,000 crore in infrastructure over the next four years. These are two of the 11 proposals prepared by Indian Railways in its 100-day plan, with instructions to initiate immediate action to implement them by August 31.
Other 100-day proposals of Indian Railways include: Wi-Fi at all 6,485 railway stations including 4,882 balance station in the next 100 days; obtain approval for elimination by 2023 of 2,568 level crossings on golden quadrilateral diagonals with assured 100 per cent funding of Rs 50,000 crore from the government; an advanced signalling system; redevelopment of 50 railways stations in 100 days and restructuring of railway board and technological revamp.