BJP MP Varun Gandhi on Friday questioned the government’s decision to scrap the concession given to senior citizens on train tickets and asked why this relief to the elderly is seen as a “burden” when MPs continue to get subsidy on rail fare. In another tweet, Gandhi also expressed concern over frequent emergency landings of flights due to one snag or another at a time when domestic air fares have almost doubled.
He asked the Directorate General of Civil Aviation to take strong measures and wondered if it is waiting for some “big incident”. He said over 17 flights have been affected in the last two months which is “very worrisome”.On the decision of the Railways ministry to end concession for the elderly, Gandhi termed it as unfortunate and asked the government to reconsider the decision.It is insensitive to desert our own people at this stage of their lives, he said.
The Railway ministry recently informed Parliament that the cost of granting concessions to passengers “weighs heavily” on the national transporter, ruling out the restoration of the facility for all categories.Female senior citizen travellers were eligible for a 50 per cent concession, while male and transgenders availed 40 per cent discount in all classes. The minimum age limit for a woman to avail the concession was 58, while it was 60 for a man.
In a written reply to a question in Lok Sabha, Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw recently said the Indian Railways is already bearing more than 50 per cent of the cost of travel, on an average, for all passengers, including senior citizens, on account of lower fare structure for passenger services.He also said the railways has forgone Rs 4,794 crore as revenue due to concessions in passenger fare to senior citizen passengers during 2017-18, 2018-19 and 2019-20 for both reserved and unreserved categories