No Railway Concession to Senior Citizen: Indian Railways has refused to resume the service of concession tickets to passengers of other categories including senior citizens and sportspersons traveling by rail. Railway Minister Ashwani Vaishnav said that the fares of the passenger segment of the railways are already very low and people of different categories have suffered huge losses due to concessional tickets. He said that due to the low fare, the railways has to bear 50 percent of the average fare of each rail passenger on its own.
Impact on the financial health of railways due to discounted tickets
In fact, the question was asked to the Railway Minister in the Lok Sabha that from when the government is going to start concessional rail travel again for senior citizens. On this question, the Railway Minister has given his answer in writing in Parliament. The Railway Minister said that due to the Corona epidemic, the income from passenger service has come down significantly for two years and is still less than 2019-20. This has affected the financial health of the Railways. The Railway Minister said that the restoration of rail concession will affect the financial health of the Railways, so it is not possible to restore the concessional train ticket service for all categories of people including senior citizens.
5.55 crore elderly people traveled by rail in 2021-22
Let us tell you that at present, railways provides concessional train tickets to four types of disabled categories and 11 types of patients and students. The Railway Minister said that due to discount on rail tickets to senior citizens, the Railways has suffered a loss of Rs 1491 crore in 2017-18, Rs 1636 crore in 2018-19 and Rs 1667 crore in 2019-20. He told that in 2019-20 where 6.18 crore senior citizens had traveled by rail, in 2020-21 1.90 crore and in 2021-22 5.55 crore elderly people have traveled by rail. He said that in 2019-20, 22.6 lakh senior citizens had opted for giving up the concessional ticket facility. Even before this, on several occasions, the question has been asked in Parliament to the government regarding the re-introduction of subsidy given to senior citizens in railway tickets.
Rail travel becomes expensive for the elderly
One, most senior citizens do not have a solid source of income. From that, after the start of the corono epidemic in March 2020, the government has suspended the concessions given to them for traveling by rail, which is still in force. Due to this, the elderly have to loosen their pockets more to travel by rail.
Earlier there was a discount on rail fare
Let us tell you that before March 2020, in the case of senior citizens, the Railways used to give 50 percent discount to women and 40 percent to men for traveling by rail in all classes. The minimum age limit for availing this relaxation by the Railways was 58 for elderly women and 60 years for men.