Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Ltd. (IRCTC) was incorporated on in September 1999 as an extended arm of the Indian Railways to upgrade, professionalise and manage the catering and hospitality services at stations, on trains and other locations. Its managing director Rakesh Tandon spoke on a range of issues. Excerpts:
What kind of changes has IRCTC brought about in the way meals are served on trains?
The company has made a significant mark in its passenger-services oriented business lines especially economy meal segments, setting up of food plazas on railway premises, packaged drinking water ‘Railneer’, rail tour packages and internet ticketing bringing great deal of professionalism into it.
What is IRCTC’s contribution to the Railways revenue?
During the year 2008-09, the IRCTC contributed a sum of Rs.76.26 crore to the revenues of the Railways as against a sum of Rs. 62.76 crore during the previous year. Contribution to the revenues of Indian Railways comprises haulage charges, concession fee, licence fee, user charges and dividend.
Can you briefly elaborate on the amount of dividend paid by IRCTC over the years?
IRCTC has been a dividend paying company from the first year of operations — 2001-2002 onward. During the year 2008-09, IRCTC paid a total dividend of Rs.9.31 crore as against Rs.4.15 crore paid during the previous year.
What are the main business activities of your company?
This includes on board catering services and static catering units on the Indian Railway network, hospitality services covers on board catering services, catering services at stations through stalls and automatic vending machines commissioned at railway stations.
Which are the trains that IRCTC is currently managing?
IRCTC is managing currently 19 Rajdhani Express trains, 13 Shatabdi Express trains, 16 Jan Shatabdi Express trains, six Duronto Express trains, nine Garib Raths, 205 other mail and express trains and 118 trains having train side vending facility.
Apart from catering, what are your other areas of business?
We also have 57 food plazas, 677 automated vending machines, 2,950 stalls, 3291 trolleys, 698 book stalls, 249 milk stalls and 7,918 static units spread over 1,008 stations ... IRCTC also makes packaged drinking water and manages departmental catering units.
What are the kind of services IRCTC is providing in passenger reservation and related areas?
IRCTC has expanded the passenger ticketing and passenger reservation service network through internet and technology-based ticketing. We are also managing the all-India Railway Enquiry Call Centre.