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Wednesday 3 June 2020

Train e-tickets to be costlier tomorrow onwards

The Railway Board had earlier approved of IRCTC restoring the mechanism of charging service charge from passengers train tickets online

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New Delhi: The IRCTC will levy a service charge of Rs 15 per train ticket for non-AC classes and Rs 30 for AC classes, including first-class, according to a 3 August order. Goods and Services Tax (GST) will be applicable separately.

The service charges were withdrawn three years ago to promote digital payments, a pet project of the Narendra Modi-led BJP government. IRCTC used to levy a service charge of Rs 20 on every non-AC e-ticket and Rs 40 for every AC ticket before it was withdrawn.

In July last year, the finance ministry had paid Rs 120 crore to the Railways‘ arm to offset the losses due to waiver of service charge on tickets booked online through its portal in 2018-19, which followed a similar reimbursement of Rs 88 crore for 2017-18.

Earlier this month, the Railway Board had given its approval to the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) to restore the mechanism of charging service charge from passengers booking online train tickets.

In a letter dated 3 August, the board had said the IRCTC, railways ticketing and tourism arm, had made a “detailed case” for the restoration of service charge on booking of the e-ticket and the matter had been examined by the “competent authority”. It further said the Finance Ministry has contended that the scheme of waiving of service charges was a temporary one and that the railway ministry could begin charging e-tickets.

“In view of the advice given by the Ministry of Finance, the competent authority has decided that IRCTC may take a suitable decision on the imposition/restoration of convenience fee/service charges and the quantum to be levied,” the letter said.

Officials say that after service charges were discontinued, IRCTC saw a 26% drop in Internet train-ticketing revenue in the financial year 2016-17.

IRCTC used to levy a service charge of Rs 20 on every non-AC e-ticket and Rs 40 for every AC ticket.

IRCTC had to decide whether it would keep the previous charges or increase it. It decided in favour of the second option.

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