Indian Railways is not planning to make the Aadhaar card mandatory for train ticket booking via the IRCTC portal, at least not yet. Recently, reports had suggested that an IRCTC directive has been issued to make the Aadhaar card compulsory for e-ticket booking. However, sources in the Railway Ministry told FE Online that as of now such a move is not imminent. “The Finance Ministry has asked the Railway Ministry to look at linking Aadhaar card with e-ticket booking. As of now the proposal is being studied. But there is no immediate chance of making the Aadhaar card mandatory for this purpose,” sources told FE Online. Aadhaar is currently one of the options that is available for verification of the passengers.
On being asked about the news reports, IRCTC denied knowledge of any such initiative. Reports of such a proposal being considered had also emerged in June last year. However, it remains to be seen whether such a move is possible, given the Supreme Court ruling that the Aadhaar card should be voluntary. The apex court had allowed the government to extend the use of the Aadhaar card to PDS and LPG schemes.
Indian Railways under minister Suresh Prabhu has been in the news for introducing bold and innovative moves to step up revenue. Recently, Indian Railways had introduced the flexi-fare system for Rajdhani, Duronto, and Shatabdi trains. Under the new system, the base fare of the trains will rise 10% with every 10% berths sold, subject to a ceiling. Additionally, from this year onwards the railway budget is likely to be scrapped. A joint committee that has been set up to finalise the modalities for the merger of Rail Budget with the General Budget has submitted its report to the Finance Ministry. Reports suggest that the cash-strapped Railways may save about Rs 10,000 crore annually if the Rail Budget is merged in the main Budget.