No senior citizen fare for foreigners, NRI travellers: Railways
In a move aimed at reducing losses, Railways has decided to withdraw senior citizen concession for foreign and NRI travellers. After a series of initiatives aimed at saving its revenue, the Ministry Railways has amended the norms for concession facility to senior citizens.
The changed law will not allow foreigners and NRIs travelling by trains to get concessions meant for senior citizens. Under the new norm, which was announced by the Rail Ministry on Monday, the facility can be availed by only those senior citizens who are permanent residents of the country. Even Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) have also been kept out of the beneficiary list for concession quota.
Commenting on the decision, a senior official said, “The move will help Railways in saving crores of rupees, which will be utilised for providing other services to our travellers.
It’s not that we are the only country which have taken such a decision, there are several other countries which don’t allow such concessions to NRIs.” The Railways presently incurs a loss of nearly Rs 1400 crore in concessional fares.
According to the officials, the other facilities provided by Railways to foreign travellers and NRIs would remain in place.
The national transporter provides the facility of foreign tourist quota (FTQ), which is a small set of seats (on most of the premium as well express trains) kept aside for foreigners (and NRIs) travelling in India on tourist visa.
Though Indian Railway charges concessional fares to various categories, including sportspersons, the differently-abled, patients and eminent artistes among others, rebate extended to senior citizens has major financial implications for the national transporter.
Of the Rs 1,400 crore cost that the public sector behemoth incurs on extending the benefit of concessional fares to various classes of people every year, a whopping Rs 1,200 crore is on account of senior citizens.
Men aged above 60 years and women over 58 are considered senior citizens entitled to concessional fares. The rebate for men is 40 per cent and for women 50 per cent in all premium as well as express trains. While there is no rebate for senior citizens in tickets booked under the Tatkal quota.
Also, in the case of senior citizens, no proof of age is required at the time of purchasing tickets. Concession tickets are issued on demand made through the option in reservation form. However, they are required to carry some documentary proof showing their age or date of birth and produce it if demanded by some Railway official during the journey.