New Delhi: The Railways has informed Parliament that its losses from fare concessions given to passengers has reduced from Rs 2,059 crore in 2019-2020 to Rs 38 crore in 2020-21, when all such subsidies, except for patients and students, were suspended due to the Covid pandemic.
The Railways has restored many of its pre-Covid services which were halted because of the pandemic. However, concessions, including the ones for senior citizens, are yet to be restored.
In reply to a question in the Lok Sabha, Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said passenger fare is highly subsidised and the revenue generated from it is less than the national transporter’s operating cost.
“Revenue foregone due to concessions on passenger fare to various categories of passengers during the financial year 2019-20 and 2020-21 is Rs 2,059 crore and Rs 38 crore respectively,” he informed the House.
Over the last two decades, railway concessions have been a much-discussed topic with multiple committees recommending their withdrawal. As a result of this in July 2016, the railways made concession for the elderly optional while booking tickets.
Vaishnaw also said the total revenue generated from the sale of passenger tickets during 2019-2020 was Rs 50,669.09 crore.
The following year, when the coronavirus crisis hit, revenue from passenger ticket sale reduced to Rs 15,248.49 crore. Till September this year, the amount generated from passenger fare is Rs 15,434.18 crore, he said.
It is significant to note that during 2020-21, trains were run as specials with marginally higher prices. This continued through 2021 till last month when it was withdrawn.
The ministry also raised the prices of platform tickets during the crisis, which too was withdrawn last month by the zonal railways.
“Ministry of Railways has delegated powers to Zonal Railways in March 2015 to increase the rate of platform tickets beyond Rs 10 to regulate rush in platforms during specific occasions like mela etc. Accordingly, Railways exercise these powers as per their requirements,” Vaishnaw said.
Revenue generated from the sale of platform tickets during 2019-2020 was Rs 160.87 crore, the following year, it was Rs 15.48 crore. Till September, when the price of such tickets was still higher than normal, revenue generated was Rs 60.79 crore, the minister informed the House.