Railways to restore fare cut to elderly, sportspersons? Considering it, says source

“The railways is considering this,” a senior railway official conceded but refused to share further details.

Published: 28th July 2022 01:35 AM  |   Last Updated: 28th July 2022 08:04 AM   |  A+A-

Indian railways, trains

Image for representational purpose only. ( File | PTI)

Express News Service

NEW DELHI:  After stonewalling demands to restore fare concessions to senior citizens and sportspersons that were axed a couple of years ago, the railways could blink by as early as August 15 or ahead of the year-end Assembly elections in quite a few states.

“The railways is considering this,” a senior railway official conceded but refused to share further details.

The concession to senior citizens may either be on their journey for medical purposes or pilgrimage. As for sportspersons, it could be on an ad-hoc basis depending on their sports-related trips initially.

When the concessions were withdrawn following the outbreak of Covid in 2020, it led to strong protests from the Opposition parties.

But, Union railways minister Ashwini Vaishnaw told the Rajya Sabha that giving concession puts a huge burden on the exchequer.

“Cost of granting concessions weighs heavily on Railways. Hence, extending the scope of concessions to all categories of passengers including senior citizens is not desirable,” he said on July 22.

That thought process is under review.

“To begin with, the railways may restore concessions to senior citizens in some express trains, which run full round the year as such an arrangement can put less financial burden on the exchequer,” a source said.

In 2019-20, around 22.6 lakh senior citizens had voluntarily opted out of the fare concession scheme.

Narrow category

At present, railways is giving fare concession to four categories of persons with disabilities and 11 categories of patients and students, minister Vaishnaw said.

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