If there is any mode of transportation that connects India to every Indian with the incredibly apt approach of ‘seva bhav’, it is the Indian railways. Most of us have a memory attached with travelling in a train. From relishing home-cooked food in trains to sharing spaces in a railway berth with strangers who become friends during the journey itself, we all have our vivid experiences with railways. Being comfortable and economical for long journeys, railways have always been the preferred mode of travel for all age groups, especially seniors. Special railway concession for senior citizens is provided by Indian railways along with various other benefits (senior citizen discount in railways, senior citizen quota in railway, etc).
The year 2020 proved to be a watershed moment for railways because, for the first time, railways stopped most of their operations across the country. Railways incurred heavy losses and in view of the nationwide lockdown due to COVID pandemic, Indian railways suspended all kinds of concessions to many categories, including for senior citizens.
Pre-covid concessions for senior citizens
Before the pandemic hit the country, there were many special provisions and senior citizen concessions in Indian railways in the form of seat preferences, senior citizen quota in railway, Sr. citizen concession in railway ticket, and so on. Prior to the pandemic, railways offered 50 % concession to women of 58 and above, while for men, the age criteria was 60 years, and a 40% concession in all classes was provided.
Railways also had a special provision under which three to four lower berths of sleeper and AC compartments were reserved for senior citizens. Apart from this, railways also offered rebates to patients suffering from a list of serious diseases irrespective of their age.
Procedure to avail concession on the railway ticket
If you are a senior citizen, you can avail the concession through the official IRTC website or Passenger Reservation System (PRS) counter. No age proof is necessary at the time of purchasing the ticket. Seniors availing said concession just need to carry a valid ID proof of age during the journey.
New rules for senior citizen concession in Indian railways
In a written reply to Lok Sabha, the railway minister said that the suspended concession to various categories of passengers (except some categories) would not be resumed at this moment in time. Except for 4 categories of Divyangs and 11 categories of Patients and Students, the concession to all other categories has been withdrawn including that of senior citizens. He, however, confirmed lower berth status remained the same as before, for senior citizens. From the response of the railway minister, it seems the railways will not resume the concession rates for the seniors at the present time.
In 2017, railways had introduced a “give it up” scheme whereby railways encouraged passengers to give up their concessions. The “give it up” scheme received a lukewarm reaction as only <8 lakh senior passengers opted for this scheme which shows how this scheme could not encourage a significant number of passengers to give up their concessions.
Other provisions to senior citizens by the Indian railways
Other than the already mentioned railway ticket concession, railways have earmarked various facilities, especially for the senior citizens. These are as follows:
- At various PRS counters, special counters are earmarked for dealing with senior citizens, divyangs and other reserved categories.
- If due to any reason, a senior citizen has got a middle or upper berth, and there remain some vacant lower berth seats in the particular compartment then the onboard ticket checking staff can allot lower berth to the seniors or even to pregnant ladies.
- At various level railway stations, senior citizens or divyangs can ask for the facility of wheelchairs. Railways have a special provision whereby they provide free of cost, battery-operated vehicles for divyangs or aged passengers. Seniors can also book e-wheelchairs online at e-ticketing website : www.irctc.co.in .
Indian railways has introduced various initiatives to make passengers’ journey comfortable and safe. The pandemic has changed the railways travel scenario to a great extent. Although railways have resumed their services at the pre-covid level, the provision for the concession is yet to be resumed. By introducing schemes like ‘give it up’, the railways has hinted that it is not going to provide any more concession to seniors in railway tickets.
The railway minister’s reply is in line with the intention of the ministry. We can only hope that the Indian railways expeditiously re-introduce the beneficial measures for seniors just like pre-covid times.
Senior Citizen Concession in Indian Railways – Latest News 2022
As per the Indian railway minister Ashwani Vaishnav’s recent address in the Lok Sabha, there will be no railway concession for senior citizens in 2022. This exemption from concession was lifted amid the pandemic for some time, but is now back in effect, and will remain so until told otherwise. This decision is backed by statistics showing a decline in income for the railway sector during the covid-19 pandemic. This has prompted the authorities to exclude many categories from the concession, resulting in no railway concession for senior citizens in 2022. Currently, railway authorities are only giving concession to three kinds of passengers – 4 types of Divyangjan, patients with 11 pre-specified diseases, and students.
Explore Other Schemes for Seniors Citizens
Frequently Asked Questions
Which specific trains offer senior citizen concessions?
IRCTC senior citizen concessions are available for all Rajdhani, Shatabdi, Express, Mail, Jan Shatabdi, and Duronto group of trains.
What IRCTC senior citizen age proof is required to utilize the senior citizen concession in Indian railways?
Senior citizens are not required to present any age proof at the time of booking the train tickets. However, seniors have to carry identity proof (which certifies them as senior citizens such as voter ID card, passport, driving license, etc.) during their journey.
What is forgo 50% concession?
Forgo 50% concession relates to travellers who took half senior citizen concession. In forgo 50% concession, seniors can forego or renounce their concession and play their part for national development.
Who is qualified for a lower berth quota in Indian Railways?
In lower Berth quota passengers can get confirmed lower birth in Indian railways. In this female travellers of age 45 years and above and for male passengers of age 60 years are eligible.