NEW DELHI: Taking forward the cashless economy drive to SAARC nations, the Indian Railways is now planning to provide online train ticket booking facilities to the neighbouring countries.
While the NDA government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been focusing on increasing cooperation with SAARC countries, the ministry of Railways is mulling to start the process with Bangladesh. Talks have been initiated informally at Indian High Commission level in Bangladesh to start the process.
“We are in the process of moving a proposal to provide online ticketing platform to Bangladesh, so that people can book their tickets for inbound trains without going to Railway stations. The system will be similar like we have in India,” said sources in railway ministry.
In India, about 58 per cent of the total tickets are booked online and the passengers who are booking online tickets, post demonetisation, are offered incentives in the form of `10 lakh travel insurance free of cost.
The IRCTC, a subsidiary of the Indian Railways, facilitates online ticket booking in the country.
This comes after the IRCTC tied up with the GSAs (General Sales Agents) of Bangladesh that will facilitate booking of e-tickets of Indian Railways through IRCTC’s website www.irctc.co.in to Bangladeshi residents.
According to IRCTC, this initiative envisages facilitating inbound foreign tourists and maintaining good relationships with foreign countries particularly the bordering and South Asian countries. India is also building rail lines in neighbouring nations of Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Bangladesh.
Efforts are on to renew all old rail links between Indian and Bangladesh, which existed pre-1965. The government is also partnering with Japan, China, France and Germany to increase the speed of trains and introduce bullet trains in India.