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Soon, the practice of booking Indian Railways train tickets through private vendors may stop! The Modi government is considering a move to bar private vendors and agents from booking IRCTC train tickets for passengers, according to a PTI report. Recently, while addressing the demand for grants of the Railway Ministry, Piyush Goyal spoke about his ministry’s crackdown on touts, including arrests. The Railway Minister further asserted that private agents are no longer required when most of the passengers can book their train tickets on mobile phones. Those passengers who need help with booking their train tickets can visit the common service centres, which are run by the government, Goyal said.
According to the minister, the touts, using certain software, used to book train tickets in large numbers within moments of their availability. The Railway Ministry has taken action against them, he added. Recently, Goyal in a written reply to a question in the parliament, said that several steps have been taken by the national transporter to prevent such activities of unscrupulous elements including touts, which are as follows:
- IRCTC, the e-ticketing arm of Indian Railways, has restricted Tatkal ticket bookings to only two tickets per user between 1000-1200 hours.
- Random Security Question has been introduced by IRCTC for booking of Tatkal tickets.
- The retail service providers have also been restricted to booking only one Tatkal ticket per train per day.
- Only one IRCTC User ID can be created by a person on a given email ID and mobile number.
- Only six tickets can be booked by a user in a month. However, this has been increased to 12 tickets per month, only if the user has linked his/her IRCTC user ID with Aadhaar number, and if at least one of the passengers in the passenger list is verifiable through Aadhaar.
- In one user login session, the booking has been restricted to only one ticket except for return or onward journey between 0800-1200 hours.
- Dynamic CAPTCHA has been introduced at registration, login and booking page to check fraudulent booking through automation software.
- Now, the minimum time required to enter passenger details is checked by IRCTC. Also, at the time of e-ticket booking, display of CAPTCHA has been provided.
- The IRCTC authorized agents have been restricted to book train tickets during the first 15 minutes of opening of Tatkal booking as well as Advance Reservation Period booking.
- The RPF is conducting regular drives against persons/agencies found involved in unauthorized railway ticket procuring and supplying.
- To detect illegal e-ticketing cases with follow up action, PRABAL query-based application is being used for verification of IRCTC IDs.