Railways not in a position to restore concessional fares for senior citizens, says minister

The Railway Minister expressed the ministry's inability to restore the concessional fares at present due to the shortfall in revenues on account of suspension of services during the lockdown

Published: 31st March 2022 08:10 PM  |   Last Updated: 15th June 2022 05:13 PM   |  A+A-

Union Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw

Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw (Photo | EPS)

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: Even after the COVID-19 pandemic has subsided to a great extent and train services have been restored to their full capacity, Indian Railways has no immediate plans to restore the concessional fares for elderly people that used to be offered. The Ministry of Railways had suspended the facility of concessional fares to senior citizens with effect from March 23, 2020 amid the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country and subsequent cancellation of train services.
Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw has categorically expressed the inability of the ministry to restore the concession fares at present because of the shortfall in the revenues of the railways on account of suspension of passenger services during the COVID-induced lockdown.

“There is no plan to restore this concession at present,” the minister replied to a question in writing in the Lok Sabha a couple of days ago. The minister also said that over 6.61 crore elderly people (senior citizens) had travelled so far by trains without availing concession in the train fares after the railways suspended the facility.
According to the written reply of the minister, 1.87 crore senior citizens travelled by trains between March 20 and March 31 in 2021. He also added that 4.74 crore senior citizens undertook journey by trains between April 1 in 2021 and February 2022 without availing concession in fares.

Prior to the suspension of concessional fares to elderly people in March 2020, approximately 12 crore senior citizens had availed the concession during 2019-20 and the revenue foregone due to concessions for the same period was around Rs 1,667 crore. At present, the railways is continuing concessions only to four categories of “Divyangajan” (differently-abled passengers) and eleven categories of patients and students.

“On account of challenges posed by the COVID-induced lockdown, total passenger revenue generated during 2020-21 has been less in comparison to the year 2019-20. The cost of granting concessions to all categories of passengers, including senior citizens, is not desirable at present,” the minister replied in writing.


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