Recently, in a written reply to a question in Rajya Sabha, Minister of State of Railways Rajen Gohain stated that the percentage of tickets booked through digital modes of payment has been increasing particularly in the case of reserved ticket booking.
In a bid to enhance digital transactions, many steps have been taken by Indian Railways. Recently, in a written reply to a question in Rajya Sabha, Minister of State of Railways Rajen Gohain stated that the percentage of tickets booked through digital modes of payment has been increasing particularly in the case of reserved ticket booking. He said that as compared to around 60 per cent in 2016-17, the reserved tickets booked through digital modes of payment constituted around 66 per cent of total reserved tickets booked in 2017-18. Moreover, in the current year 2018-19, up to June, 2018, around 68 per cent of total reserved tickets were booked through digital means. Here are the key measures taken by the national transporter to increase digital transactions:
1) For the tickets booked through the IRCTC website, payment is made through various cashless modes like net banking, through credit cards or debit cards, cash cards, e-wallets and Unified Payment Interface (UPI)/Bharat Interface for Money (BHIM). In order to incentivise payment through digital modes, Indian Railways withdrew service charge on online booking of tickets from November 23, 2016. The facility has been extended up to August 31, 2018.
2) While booking tickets through counter, UPI/BHIM is also accepted as one of the payment options. A discount of 5 per cent is given on the total value of basic fare in Passenger Reservation System (PRS) reserved counter ticket for payments made through UPI/BHIM, subject to maximum amount of discount of Rs 50 on a ticket and value of ticket being Rs 100 and more.
3) In order to install 10,000 Point of Sale (POS) machines across various locations such as Passenger Reservation System (PRS)/Unreserved Ticketing System (UTS) ticket booking counters and Parcel/Goods locations, Indian Railways has tied up with State Bank.
4) Indian Railways has also introduced booking of tickets through mobile phones wherein payment can be made through credit cards, debit cards, net banking, e-wallets etc. Also, a 5 per cent bonus is provided to the user at the time of recharge of R-wallet for a period of three months in case of unreserved ticket booking through mobile phone.
5) The national transporter has also withdrawn service charges that were earlier applicable for transactions against credit or debit cards for purchase of train tickets at PRS or UTS counters.
6) Indian Railways also accepts international credit cards as well as debit cards issued outside India, for booking of online train tickets through IRCTC website.
7) In order to facilitate sale of unreserved tickets which have provision of payment through smart cards, Indian Railways has introduced Automatic Ticket Vending Machines (ATVMs). Moreover, a bonus of 3 per cent of recharge value is provided to users on every recharge of the ATVM smart card for promoting use of ATVM bookings.
8) A discount of 0.5 per cent, is being given on purchase of season tickets through digital means with effect from January 1, 2017 up to August 31, 2018.
9) Also, on booking of retiring rooms through digital means, a discount of 5 per cent is provided by the national transporter.
10) Indian Railways has also extended free of cost accidental insurance cover up to Rs 10 lakh for confirmed/Reservation Against Cancellation (RAC) online ticket holders up to August 31, 2018.