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Centre gave Rs 59,837 crore subsidy on passenger tickets in 2019-20: Ashwini Vaishnaw
New Delhi: The Centre gave subsidies of Rs 59,837 crore on passenger tickets in 2019-20, which comes to an average concession of around 53 per cent for every person travelling, informed Union Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw on Friday in Rajya Sabha.
In a written reply to the Rajya Sabha, the Railways Minister further said that concessions are still being provided to many categories such as divyangjans, students and patients. The Minister was asked about the government's position to restore concessions in trains for senior citizens, which was suspended after the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
Notably, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Railways has recommended that the discount on railway tickets to senior citizens should be restored. Earlier, the discount was given to those above 60 years of age.
"Standing Committee on Railways has advised to review and consider concession to senior citizens at least in the sleeper and 3 AC. The government gave a subsidy of 59,837 Crore on passenger tickets in 2019-20. This amounts to the concession of 53 per cent on average, to every person, travelling on Railways. This subsidy is continuing for all passengers. Further concessions beyond this subsidy amounts are continuing for many categories like Divyangjans, students and patients," the Vaishnaw said in a written reply to a question by CPI MP Binoy Viswam on whether the railways have taken cognizance of the parliamentary standing committee's recommendation to restore concessions in trains for senior citizens.
In response to another question on whether all the trains have resumed with full operations of not, the Railways Minister said that the passenger services are being operationalised in a phased manner and Indian Railways is keeping a close watch on the situation and regulating the operations of trains accordingly.
Whether all the trains that were discontinued due to the pandemic, have resumed full operations, if not, Railways intend to do so, and by when, Vaishnaw said, "With a view to contain the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, Indian Railways had discontinued the operation of all regular passenger-carrying trains with effect from March 23, 2020, and only special train services were being operated. Since November-2021, Mail/express train services are being operated as per rationalized timetable and regular numbers. The passenger services are being operationalised in a phased manner. Indian Railways is keeping a close watch on the situation and regulating the operations of trains accordingly."
Whether there are any railway station stoppages that not yet been restored after the COVID lockdown, if so, by when Railways intend to resume these stoppages, the Railways Minister said, "As regards stoppage, it is stated that Indian Railways have undertaken rationalization of the timetable in a scientific manner with the assistance of HT-Bombay. The exercise has been undertaken inter alia to provide for better passenger safety by creating maintenance corridor blocks, minimizing conflicts in the existing timetable and generation the additional paths for freight traffic." (ANI)