To boost the non-fare revenue and digital transactions in the Indian Railways, railway minister Suresh Prabhu on Tuesday inaugurated various initiatives in New Delhi. In the non-fare revenue space initiatives such as advertising on trains and other assets including bridges, setting up of ATMs and offering digital content to passengers were announced. Moreover, to increase digital transactions and provide enhanced user experience, an Android-based IRCTC Rail Connect app has been developed.
The national carrier plans to increase its non-fare revenue contribution from under 5% now to 10-20% as prevalent world over.
Among the notable non-fare policy initiatives, which have been in the works for some time, include out-of-home advertisement, content on demand and branding of trains. The Indian Railways carries around 22.3 million passengers every day. In a release, Prabhu said various steps are being taken towards promoting digital transactions, adding new innovative ideas are brainstormed for increasing the non-fare revenues of Indian Railways and many policy initiatives have now been taken.
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The railways expects a total of Rs18,000 crore through these initiatives. For the current year, the non-fare revenue target is set at Rs9,600 crore, up 68% from last year.
A press release noted that till January 9, 2,967 point-of-sale machines at 2,084 locations across the country have been installed to support the NDA government’s move towards a less-cash economy. For the railways, the percentage of cashless transactions in reserved segment increased from 58% in 2015-16 to 68% at present. In the unreserved category, it increased from 6.5% to 8%. Prabhu has been focusing on hiking the non-fare receipts since the last railway budget.