In a bid to prevent such illegal activities by touts, several checks have been deployed by the e-ticketing and catering arm of Indian Railways, Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC).
IRCTC e-ticket booking Misusing of the ticket reservation system is a major issue faced by Indian Railways! When the demand for train tickets exceeds availability, especially during rush period like summer vacations, festivals, holidays, etc., instances of an attempt to misuse IRCTC’s next-generation e-ticketing reservation system come to notice. However, in a bid to prevent such illegal activities by touts, several checks have been deployed by the e-ticketing and catering arm of Indian Railways, Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC). In a written reply to a question in Lok Sabha, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal stated that under Section 143 of the Railways Act, 1989, unauthorized business of procuring and supplying of train tickets is a punishable offence. Thus, those who are found involved in such activities are punished as per the rules. The minister also listed out all the measures taken by his ministry to prevent IRCTC e-ticketing touts:
- An individual is allowed to create only one IRCTC user ID on a given mobile number and email ID.
- Indian Railways had set a limit of booking six railway tickets by a user in a month. However, the limit has been revised to 12 tickets in a month for those users who have linked their IRCTC user ID with their Aadhaar Card number as well as ensured that at least one passenger in the passenger list is verified through Aadhaar.
- The user IDs are checked on a daily basis and the IDs found using malpractices like fast booking of tickets are deactivated. Between 1 April 2018 and 31 May 2019, around 1.26 lakh user IDs have been deactivated.
- IRCTC Tatkal tickets booked in the first minute are checked for frivolous users on a regular basis and on suspicion of such tickets, they are cancelled.
- Between 0800 and 1200 hours, only one booking is allowed in one user login session except for return or onward journey.
- Checks have been applied on minimum duration of time required to enter the details of the passenger and displayed CAPTCHA at the time of booking e-tickets by users.
- Authorized IRCTC agents have been prohibited from booking tickets as well as tatkal tickets during the first 15 minutes of opening of Advance Reservation Period (ARP) booking.
The Railway Minister further claimed that in order to prevent unauthorized ticketing activities including the use of scripting software, checks are conducted regularly in mass contact areas like Passenger Reservation System (PRS) centres, platforms, booking offices, trains, etc. In 2017, as many as 1,261 touts were arrested and 11,500 e-tickets were recovered. In 2018, a total of 2,391 touts were arrested and 78,001 e-tickets were recovered, Goyal said.