The Railways has told Parliament that its losses from fare concessions that were given to passengers have decreased from Rs 2,059 crore in 2019-20 to Rs 38 crore in 2020-21, when all grants, except for students and patients, were suspended because of the Covid pandemic.
The Railways has brought back many of its pre-Covid services that were paused due to the pandemic. However, concessions, which include the one for senior citizens are yet to be brought back.
In the Lok Sabha in reply to a certain question, Ashwini Vaishnaw, the railway minister stated that passenger fare is highly subsidized and the revenue that is generated from it is less than the countries transporter’s operating cost.
“Revenue foregone due to concessions on passenger fare to various categories of passengers during the financial year 2019-20 and 2020-21 is Rs 2,059 crore and Rs 38 crore respectively,” he certainly informed the House.
Over the last 20 years, railway concessions have been a widely discussed topic with several committees suggesting their withdrawal. As a result of this in 2016, the railways made adjustment to the fare for the older optional while booking the tickets.
Vaishnaw even stated that the complete revenue generated from the sale of tickets for passengers during 2019-20 was Rs 50,669.09 crore.
When the Covid-19 crisis hit the following year, revenue from the ticket sale of passengers came down to Rs 15,248.49 crore. This year till September, the amount generated is Rs 15,434.18 crore from passenger fare, he stated.
It is important to note that during 2020-21, trains were running as specials with relatively higher fares. This certainly continued through 2021 till last month when it was taken back.
The ministry also increased the prices of platform tickets during the Covid-19 crisis, which too was even withdrawn last month by the zonal railways.
“Ministry of Railways has delegated powers to Zonal Railways in March 2015 to increase the rate of platform tickets beyond Rs 10 to regulate rush in platforms during specific occasions like mela etc. Accordingly, Railways exercise these powers as per their requirements,” Vaishnaw stated.
During 2019-2020, the revenue that was generated from the sale of only platform tickets was Rs 160.87 crore, the next year, it was only Rs 15.48 crore. When the price of such tickets was still higher than usual prices till September, revenue that was generated was Rs 60.79 crore, the minister well informed the House.