Promoting digital transactions on Indian Railways.

    New Delhi: Following schemes have been introduced for promoting digital transactions on Indian Railways:-

    i. The facility of online booking of reserved ticket has been provided through Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) website. The payment for tickets booked through IRCTC website is made through various cashless modes such as net banking, through credit/debit cards, cash cards and e-wallets. To incentivize payment through digital money, service charge on online booking of tickets was withdrawn for the tickets booked from 23.11.2016. The facility has been extended up to 30.09.2017.

    ii. The facility of booking unreserved ticket including journey, season and platform tickets through mobile phone has been introduced in all suburban sections of Central, Western, Southern, Eastern, South Central, South Eastern and Delhi-Palwal and Delhi-Ghaziabad non-suburban sections of Northern Railway. Additional payment options under the digital modes have also been introduced to widen the scope of digital payments for the purchase of unreserved tickets.

    iii. The facility of renewal of season tickets through IRCTC website has been provided for suburban train services on Central and Western Railways wherein payment is made through digital modes.

    iv. The Point of Sale (POS) machines are being installed at various locations of Indian Railways i.e. Passenger Reservation System (PRS) locations, Unreserved Ticketing System (UTS) locations, Parcel/Goods locations under an agreement with the State Bank of India to install 10,000 POS machines.

    v. New mobile application ‘Rail Saarthi’ for booking of rail tickets has also been launched.

    vi. Service charge applicable on transactions against credit/debit cards for purchasing journey tickets at UTS/ PRS counters has been withdrawn.

    vii. International Credit/ Debit cards issued outside India are accepted for booking of e-tickets through IRCTC website.

    viii. 0.5% discount is given on purchase of season tickets through digital means with effect from 01.01.2017 up to 30.09.2017.

    ix. Free accidental insurance cover of upto `10 lakh for confirmed/RAC passengers has been extended in case of tickets booked online from 10.12.2016 to 30.09.2017.

    x. Provisions have been made in new Catering Policy 2017 for installation of the facility for cashless transaction viz. POS/ Swipe machine etc. in all the mobile and static units.

    xi. 5% discount is given on online payment made for availing services like online booking of retiring rooms with effect from 01.01.2017.

    Further, certain payment solution providers such as e-wallets, mVisa etc. give frequent cash back to their users while booking e-tickets through IRCTC website.

    However, the introduction of new schemes or modification of existing schemes to promote the use of digital money is a continuous and ongoing process.

    Facilities to Railway Passengers

    Provision of enhanced passenger amenities in train coaches is a continual endeavour of the Indian Railways.

    Some of the policy decisions taken in this regard are:

    1. Provision of cushioned seats in General Second class coaches.
    2. Provision of bottle holder and snack table in Non-AC Sleeper Class coaches.
    3. Provision of dust bins in Non-AC coaches.
    4. Provision of mugs with the chain in Non-AC coaches.
    5. Provision of Health Faucets in AC as well as Non-AC Sleeper class coaches, etc.

    Besides, new trains having better passenger amenities, such as Tejas, Humsafar and Antyodaya have already been introduced. It has also been decided to carry out the work of upgradation of the coach interiors and exteriors and to provide additional amenities in the identified coaches, that have a certain balance residual life. The upgradations of coaches would result in an improvement in the overall ambience and furnishing and enhanced passenger comfort. It has been decided to carry out the work in a phased manner depending upon the availability of capacities and funds.

    Cleaning of coaches including toilets is done at both ends in all trains. Some of the major initiatives taken by Indian Railways towards improvement of cleanliness in trains are as follows:-

    (i) Cleaning of coaches of trains at both ends including mechanized cleaning.

    (ii) On Board House Keeping Service (OBHS) has been provided in nearly 900 trains including Rajdhani, Shatabdi, and other important long distance Mail/Express trains for cleaning of coach toilets, doorways, aisles and passenger compartments during the run of the trains.

    (iii) ‘Clean My Coach’ service is provided on demand in nearly 880 important Superfast/ Mail/Express long distance trains having 'On Board Housekeeping Service'.

    (iv) Clean Train Station (CTS) scheme has also been prescribed for limited mechanized cleaning attention to identified trains including cleaning of toilets during their scheduled stoppages en route at nominated stations. 40 Clean Train Stations are presently working.

    In its endeavour to provide quality and hygienic food to the passengers, Indian Railways have developed and operationalized an institutionalized mechanism for monitoring of quality and hygiene of catering services through regular inspections at various levels to address catering complaints.

    Further, to improve the standard of food being provided to passengers in trains, new Catering Policy has been issued on 27th February 2017 wherein inter-alia Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Limited (IRCTC) has been mandated to carry out the unbundling by creating a distinction primarily between food preparation and food distribution. In order to upgrade the quality of food preparation, IRCTC is to set up new kitchens and upgrade existing ones.

    Further, a pilot project on optional catering service will be provided to passengers booking tickets from 01.08.2017 onwards for the journeys to commence on 01.08.2017 and onwards shall be introduced on 31 Rajdhani/Shatabdi/Duronto under the management of IRCTC w.e.f. 01.08.2017. This scheme shall be implemented for an initial period of 6 months subject to mid-term review of the scheme after 3 months.

    The above all information was given by the Minister of State for Railways Rajen Gohain in a written reply to a question in Lok Sabha on Wednesday, 02.08.2017.

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