A day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi lauded 40 lakh people for voluntarily giving up age-related train fare concessions, the Railways today said it had saved Rs 77 crore in 19 months from the government’s “Give it up” initiative, which encouraged senior citizens not to buy tickets at the reduced rates they were entitled to. In an interactive session in London yesterday, Modi had said it was a reflection of the common man’s sense of patriotism that 40 lakh people had voluntarily given up the fare concession given to senior citizens.
From August 15, 2016, to March 31, 2018, about 40 lakh senior citizens had voluntarily given up concessions resulting in a saving of Rs 77 crore for the Railways from this initiative, the ministry said in a statement. While the option for giving up the full concession in rail tickets for senior citizens had been available since 2016, the Railways extended the system to allow passengers to give up 50 per cent of the concession in 2017.
At present, men aged 60 or more get 40 per cent while women of 58 years and above get a 50 per cent concession on a ticket. Though there are many categories of passengers, including sportspersons and differently-abled people, who are given concessions, the major beneficiaries are in the senior citizens’ segment, the statement said.
The scheme was launched to reduce the nearly Rs 1,300-crore subsidy burden of the Railways in the senior citizen category. The Railways bears 43 per cent of the cost of the fare of a train ticket and incurs a loss of about Rs 30,000 crore a year in subsidising passenger fares, out of which a sum of Rs 1,600 crore is for concessional fares.