The finance ministry plans to reimburse the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation’s (IRCTC) for losses incurred from waiving off service charges on online tickets.
Compensation of around Rs 80-100 crore, which is the actual cost and not the margins borne by IRCTC, is likely to be offered. IRCTC has quoted costs of Rs 600 crore per year including actual costs plus margin.
IRCTC is hoping the ministry’s gesture will wipe out financial glitches ahead of it’s IPO.
“In the earlier model, of the Rs 600 crore IRCTC used to collect as service charges annually, 50 percent used to go to the railways and the balance was retained by IRCTC. However, since processes are now mostly computerised, cost of operations has reduced,” a ministry of railways official told the paper.
The service charges at Rs 20, Rs 40, Rs 80, and Rs 120 for the tickets, were waived off in November last year after demonetisation. Till date, it is unclear whether the ministry will bear the cost of online ticketing services for every year. Customers cannot be levied with the service charge till March 2018.