Indian Railways has earned an additional revenue of more than ₹ 2,800 crore from child travellers in the last seven years by revising child travel fare norms, an RTI response has found. According to the Centre for Railway Information Systems (CRIS) response provided in response to a request made under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, the 2022–23 fiscal year alone earned Rs 560 crore due to the modified standards, making it the most lucrative year, as reported by the NDTV.
On March 31, 2016, the Ministry of Railways stated it would begin collecting full adult fares for kids ages 5 to under 12 who chose separate berths or seats in a reserved coach. The modified standard became effective on April 21, 2016. Previously, separate berths for kids between the ages of 5 and 12 could be purchased for half the cost of the trip. Although children in the aforementioned age range are now permitted to fly at half the cost, they are still required to sit on the seat of the accompanying adult and are not provided with their berths or seats.
The CRIS has provided the year-wise data in a tabular form from the financial year of 2016-17 to 2022-23 of two categories of children based on their fare options. According to statistics provided by the CRIS, over 3.6 crore people were found to have travelled in the last seven years for half the price without selecting a reserved seat or coach, whereas over 10 crore children selected a separate berth/seat and paid the full fee.
As per the report by the NDTV, “The response also suggests that out of total children who travel by railways, about 70 per cent prefer to pay full fare and get a berth or seat,” Chandra Shekhar Gaur, the RTI applicant, said.
“In a long-distance journey, it is very painful for both the child and the adult to use one berth or seat. The revision of norms has turned out to be a windfall gain for the railways.” He added. It proved that COVID-19 caused its harm during the year, according to Gaur.
CRIS (Centre for Railway Information Systems)
The Ministry of Railways is home to the CRIS (Centre for Railway Information Systems) organization. The majority of the critical information systems for Indian Railways are designed, developed, implemented, and maintained by the Centre for Railway Information Systems. CRIS is a unique combination of competent IT professionals and experienced Railway personnel enabling it to successfully deliver complex Railway IT systems in core areas. It is located in Chanakyapuri, New Delhi.
RTI ( Right to Information)
The Indian Parliament passed the Right to Information Act, which lays out the policies and processes governing the right of citizens to information. The 2002 Freedom of Information Act was replaced by it.
Please, also have a look into : Railways to launch device to check driver drowsiness