Withdrawal of concession for senior citizens earns Railways over Rs 5,800 cr in four years: RTI

NEW DELHI, Apr 1 : The Indian Railways earned over Rs 5,800 crore additional revenue from senior citizens after withdrawal of concessions in train fares four years ago, responses under Right to Information Act revealed.

On March 20, 2020, the Railway Ministry withdrew concessions in train fares offered to senior citizens after a countrywide lockdown was announced due to Covid-19.

Before that, the Railways used to offer 50 per cent concession to female and 40 per cent to male and transgender senior citizen passengers on train fares.

Since its withdrawal, senior citizens have to pay full fare at par with other passengers for train journeys. As per Railways norms, male and transgenders, who are 60 and above and females who are 58 and above are considered senior citizens.

Multiple applications filed under RTI Act by Madhya Pradesh-based Chandra Shekhar Gaur at different points of time suggest that from March 20, 2020, till January 31, 2024, the Railways have made an additional revenue of over 5,875 crore.

“I filed three applications under the RTI Act. In the first application, the Railways provided me additional revenue data from March 20, 2020 to March 31, 2022. In the second application, it gave me data from April 1, 2022 to March 31, 2023. Since I filed the third application in February 2024, I got the data from April 1, 2023 to January 31, 2024,” Gaur said while sharing the copies of the replies.

He added, “Since the replies from the Railways are year-wise and gender-wise, we can easily find out the additional revenue collected by it from March 20, 2020 to January 31, 2024.”

The responses shared by Gaur show that in almost four years about 13 crore male, nine crore female and 33,700 transgenders senior citizens took the train journey paying a total revenue of approximately 13,287 crore.

“Calculating 50 per cent concession for female and 40 per cent for male and transgenders senior citizen passengers gives a figure of over 5875 crore,” Gaur said.

Questions related to the restoration of concession for senior citizens have been raised at various platforms, including both houses of the Parliament.

However, Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw without giving any direct reply maintained that the Indian Railway offers 55 per cent concession on train fares to every train passenger.

“If a train ticket to a destination costs Rs 100, the Railway is charging only Rs 45. It is giving Rs 55 concession,” Vaishnaw had said during a press briefing in January 2024.

Gaur said that since the present government has only withdrawn concessions rather than offering any new one, “it shows that before Covid more concessions were being offered than just Rs 55 on the purchase of a train ticket”. (PTI)