With an eye on increasing revenue, Indian Railways has finalised a proposal to offer passengers an option to voluntarily give up subsidy on train tickets. A proposal in this regard has already been submitted to the Prime Minister's Office.
"The railways has submitted a 100-day plan to the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) to increase the earnings," said a senior official of Indian Railways. He was quoted by news agency IANS.
According to this proposal, a passenger will have the liberty to choose whether he or she wants to give up subsidy or not.
Right now, when a passenger buys a ticket, 47 per cent of the cost is borne by the railways and the reduced cost is borne by the passenger.
Railway officials said that the fresh idea was to urge passengers to give up the subsidy on the train tickets -- like it was respect to LPG gas cylinders during PM Narendra Modi's first tenure.
If the proposal is passed Centre for Railway Information Systems (CRIS) will make required changes in the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) website to offer the option of purchasing the ticket with or without subsidy.
According to the early reports, the scheme will come under implementation by the end of August this year.
Currently, Indian Railways earn Rs 50,000 crore annually through ticket sales. The aim is to raise the figure to Rs 56,000 crore in the year 2019-2020.
Indian Railways was mulling the 'give it up' proposal at the time when Suresh Prabhu was the Railways Minister. However, the proposal was withdrawn after opposition from a few quarters.
In July 2017, the Railways introduced “give it up” scheme for senior citizens urging them to surrender their concession. This proved to be a success as 48 lakh passengers availed for the option and Railways earned Rs 78 crore apart from their main revenue. The scheme will prevail for senior citizens even after the introducing give up the scheme for others as well.
The railways are hopeful about the fresh proposal. However, it is being feared that, if implemented, this decision may decrease the number of passengers opting for AC coaches as prices of these tickets would skyrocket as a result of abolition of subsidies.