Railways to not resume senior citizens’ concession
Previously, railways offered 50% discount to female passengers and 40% to male passengers across all classes. The minimum age for availing this was 58 years for women and 60 years for men.
The ministry of railways, which did away with concessions for senior citizens in March 2020, will not be restoring them yet, in an attempt to shore up finances — a move that is likely to be unpopular with tens of thousands of older passengers who benefited from the discount before the pandemic.
“Due to challenges posed by Covid-19, total passenger revenue generated during 2020-2021 is less compared to 2019-2020 (pre- Covid period). 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 at present,” railway minister Ashwani Vaishnaw stated on Wednesday in a written reply to a question in Parliament. Previously, railways offered 50% discount to female passengers and 40% to male passengers across all classes. The minimum age for availing this was 58 years for women and 60 years for men. The cost of the discount worked out to ₹1,600 crore a year, 80% of the ₹2,000 crore railways incurred on all concessions.
During the pandemic, and as it restored services gradually, MoR discontinued all but 15 of the 53 concessions it offered — four for the differently abled, and 11 for students and patients. Shree Prakash, former Member Traffic of Railways said, “The decision of railways to not restore senior citizens’ concessions is a retrograde step. Financially this step may help the ministry in a small manner, but overall, this decision will affect the volume of passenger travel, which is already affected, by train.”
Another former railway official who did not wish to be named said MoR could consider continuing with the concession in some classes, perhaps Third AC.
Shailesh Goyal, former member of National Railway Users Consultative Council said: “Senior citizens were waiting for their concession to restart for the last two years but they are dismayed with the ministry’s decision. Not all universities and colleges have re- opened completely. Hence, instead of reinstating students’ concessions, the ministry should recommence concessions for senior citizens.”
- indian Railways