Published On : Fri, Jul 7th, 2017

Like LPG, you can soon give up your rail subsidy


New Delhi: Taking a cue from the petroleum ministry, the Indian Railways is set to launch a Give-It-Up campaign to travellers for letting go of the subsidy on train tickets.

A similar mission launched by the Ministry of Petroleum was a hit, with 10.5 million liquefied petroleum gas (LPG)-consuming households opting out of the subsidy, saving about Rs 4,000 crore for the government.

A senior railway official said, The scheme will be launched soon. Passengers will have the option to forgo either 100 per cent of the subsidy or 50 per cent or to avail of the subsidy. It will be a voluntary decision.

The idea reportedly came to Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu when an Avtar Krishen Kher sent back a cheque in the name of IRCTC for the differential amount of the actual fare and the subsidy, around Rs 950 for his trip. The national transporter recovers only close to 57 per cent of the cost of travel on each ticket; on suburban tickets, it comes to around 40 per cent. This has led to an annual subsidy burden of about Rs 30,000 crore for the railways. We expect people who are well off to forgo the subsidy, as details of this are already printed on tickets, the official said.

The railways had posted its worst operating ratio in 16 years at 96.9 per cent in 2016-17. This was attributed to the social burden and the pay commission impact. It has also appointed an international consultancy entity to devise a performance index other than the operating ratio.