IRCTC train ticket prices to go up soon! How Indian Railways plans to make passengers give up their subsidy

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Indian Railway Board has introduced an initiative as a part of the 100 day roadmap which will be presented before PM Narendra Modi for approval. This plan encourages passengers to voluntarily give up the subsidy on their train ticket prices either partially or completely. At present, Indian Railways recovers only 57% of the operating costs from the tickets. Forgoing subsidy will make travel in classes such as AC-2 tier more expensive.

It is estimated that AC Chair Car and AC-3 tier classes will earn some profit on non-subsidised tickets. The fares of non-subisidised tickets in 1st AC class can come closer to air ticket prices particularly in long distance trains. For short distance trains, the competition can come from bus fares. However, according to officials, the train fare will not double after giving up subsidy. In case of suburban railway, the give it up option would be for the subsidy provided on the monthly season ticket. Railway intends to encourage passengers in cities like Mumbai who can afford to pay the full cost of the monthly season tickets to give up the subsidy.

According to the plan, the option to give up the subsidy would be included on the IRCTC website and the reservation forms available in the station counters. PM Narendra Modi in the year 2014, urged citizens to give up LPG subsidy and 1.25 crore people voluntarily gave up their subsidies. This initiative gave rise to Ujjawala Yojana. However, this initiative is different because in case of Ujjawala Yojana, for every subsidy given up a free cylinder was sponsored for a rural home while the subsidy provided by Indian Railways on tickets is from its freight business and not the general exchequer.

The give it up scheme is not new for Indian Railways. On July 2017, Indian Railways launched give it up scheme which urged senior citizens to renounce subsidy partially or completely. This scheme turned out to be a success with 48 lakh senior citizens forgoing the subsidy.

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