The government had waived the service charges after demonetisation in November last year to encourage digital modes of booking.
In a recent development, the service charge exemption on railway tickets booked online has been extended till June 30. In order to help passengers and incentivise payments made through digital modes for booking of reserved tickets, service charge on online booking of tickets was withdrawn for the tickets booked from November 23, 2016 to March 31, 2017.
Speaking to PTI on the same, a Railway Ministry official said, “We have received instructions from the Ministry of Information and Technology advising the railways to extend the incentives at least till June 30, 2017.” Service charges on booking train tickets online through IRCTC ranges from Rs 20 to 40 per ticket.
The government had waived the service charges after demonetisation in November last year to encourage digital modes of booking. Approximately, an amount of Rs 184 crore has not been realised from passengers on account of service charge and service tax thereon on reserved tickets booked online from November 23, 2016 to February 28, 2017, according to railways data.
However, from the time for demonetisaion, it was expected to be a difficult decision for the Railway Minister to make as almost 33 per cent of the IRCTC revenue comes from the service charge collected on online bookings. As per the revenue collection of the last financial year, about Rs 540 crore of IRCTC’s revenue of over Rs 1,500 crore came from ticket bookings. This also contribute to the dividend it pays to the railways.
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As per statistics, near about 12 lakh train tickets are purchased on the IRCTC website on a daily basis which accounts for almost 55 per cent of entire railway bookings in the country. If maximum amount of railway ticket bookings shift to IRCTC, it would help the national transporter cut costs by reducing the total number of ticket booking counters opened in the country. Speaking about the same, an official had mentioned that Railways doing away with service charge would be a big step towards fulfilling Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s agenda of pushing digital economy.
(With inputs from agencies.)