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Indian Railways’ Strategic Rule Change Yields Whopping Rs 2,800 Crore Revenue Over Seven Years

New Delhi | September 25, 2023: In a surprising turn of events, the Indian Railways has reaped a staggering sum of Rs 2,800 crore in revenue over the course of seven years, thanks to a seemingly minor rule change. This significant financial windfall can be attributed to a crucial amendment concerning the fare policy for children’s travel. The alteration in question was enacted on April 21, 2016, when the Ministry of Railways modified the rule pertaining to young passengers between the ages of 5 and 12.

Prior to this amendment, children falling within the 5 to 12-year age bracket were entitled to pay only half the fare for their train journeys. Alternatively, if a child chose to share a berth with an accompanying adult instead of occupying a separate one, they too were eligible for this discounted fare. However, since the rule change, these young travelers are now required to pay the full fare if they opt for a separate berth or seat in a reserved coach.

According to data acquired through a Right to Information (RTI) request, the Centre for Railway Information Systems (CRIS), operating under the Ministry of Railways and responsible for various IT solutions within the railway sector, reported that more than 3.6 crore children have availed of the half-fare option without opting for a reserved seat or berth during the past seven years. In stark contrast, over 10 crore children have chosen to occupy a separate berth or seat and consequently paid the full fare.

The RTI data further revealed that approximately 70 percent of children traveling by train in the specified age group have willingly paid the full fare in exchange for a dedicated seat or berth. CRIS has meticulously compiled statistics, showcasing fare preferences for these two categories of children from the financial years 2016-17 to 2022-23.

The revelation of this substantial revenue boost comes in the wake of Indian Railways achieving a record-breaking total revenue of Rs 2.40 lakh crore for the fiscal year 2022-23. This noteworthy accomplishment was proudly announced by the Ministry of Railways during its annual performance figures release.

The success of this strategic rule change highlights the railways’ ability to adapt and optimize its operations, resulting in significant financial gains while accommodating the travel needs of young passengers. It remains to be seen whether further innovations will continue to contribute to the railways’ financial prosperity in the years to come.

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