Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee's budget announcement to allow the Railways to launch a new portal and sell tickets at lower booking charges has made the IRCTC just a tourism promotional venture. It has already been shorn of its food catering business.
The IRCTC, however, has expressed its unwillingness to bow out of the e-ticket selling business without giving its parent body a fight, deciding to sell tickets at the same reduced service charge that the Railways propose to levy to hook passengers to its portal.
The Minister announced that the service charge on A/C tickets will be Rs.10 and Rs.5 for sleeper class tickets — lower by 50 per cent of the charge currently levied for the two categories of tickets. The IRCTC too proposes to bring its rates down by a similar amount.
With the Railways proposing to launch the new portal in the next financial year, the IRCTC is pondering its own date to pre-empt the loss of business. As of now, the IRCTC sells 3-lakh to 3.5-lakh tickets daily and gets handsome revenue.
Like in the food catering business, the IRCTC has come under much criticism over the sale of tickets, particularly the way the Tatkal tickets are cornered by the brokers with the general public unable to even access the server and book tickets on their own.
Source - The Hindu