Service charge exemption on railway e-tickets to stay till June 30

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The government issued a notification which can benefit thousands of railway travellers each day, extending the date of service charge exemption on railway e-tickets to June 30. The initial plan was to provide this exemption only till March 31.

The move, aimed at encouraging more individuals to purchase tickets online, was implemented following demonetisation on November 8 last year. The Railways withdrew service charge on online ticket booking on November 23, 2016.

The Indian Railways caters to over 23 million passengers per day, with over 12,000 trains running on any given day. Service charge on e-ticket booking typically ranges between Rs.20 and Rs.40 per ticket, accounting for a significant chunk of the Railways’ income.

The country has seen a huge spurt in online payments made via debit/credit cards, e-wallets, UPI, etc. following demonetisation. The Ministry of Information and Technology played a key role in extending this deadline, communicating to their counterparts in the Railway Ministry to provide additional incentives to passengers booking tickets via online portals.

Data released by the Railways indicates that the department lost around Rs.184 crore in terms of revenue since November 23, on account of dropping the service charge.

The Railways is also offering a discount of 0.5 per cent on season tickets purchased through digital means. Additionally, officials have also revamped the IRCTC website to simplify the process of purchasing e-tickets.

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