The Railways has earned an additional revenue of around Rs 2,242 crore from senior citizen travellers between April 1, 2022 and March 30, 2023 by revoking concession offered to them, an RTI response has found. This money has come from the pockets of senior citizens travelling by trains.
The national transporter had generated Rs 1,500 crore in excess between March 20, 2020 — when the assistance was suspended after the onset of the Covid pandemic and March 31, 2022.
The senior citizens’ concession that the Indian Railways used to offer remains suspended, with the elderly having to pay full price for their tickets.
The senior citizens’ concession was suspended in March 2020, because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Even though the pandemic-related shutdowns have all come to an end a while ago, this concession has not been restored. The concession used to apply to men above the age of 60 and women above the age of 58.
In a Right to Information response sent to Madhya Pradesh-based Chandra Shekhar Gaur, the Railways said about eight crore senior citizens bought train tickets at the full price in the last financial year. “The total revenue from senior citizen travellers during the period is ₹5,062 crore which includes an additional ₹2,242 crore, earned due to the suspension of the concession,” PTI cited the RTI reply as saying.
“The total revenue from senior citizen travellers during 2020-22 was ₹3,464 crore which was ₹1,500 crore more than what it would have earned if they had offered the concessions to them,” the PTI report continued.
For the Railways, the earnings from senior citizen fares has increased at a steady pace. Between March 20, 2020 and March 31, 2022, the Railways did not offer concessions to 7.31 crore senior citizen travellers. These included 4.46 crore male passengers aged 60 years and above, 2.84 crore female travellers over 58 and 8,310 transgender people.
On April 28, the Supreme Court had dismissed a petition seeking revival of the concession. “It would not be appropriate for this court to issue a writ of mandamus in a petition under Article 32 of the Constitution. It is for the government to take a call on the issue keeping in mind the needs of the senior citizens and the fiscal repercussions. Dismissed,” the bench said then.