A parliamentary committee has recommended that senior citizen concessions be reviewed and restored "urgently" at least for sleeper class and AC 3-tier train travel.
In its report submitted on August 4, the Standing Committee on Railways said senior citizens were earlier granted a concession amounting to 40-50 percent of their railway fares, but the practice was stopped during the COVID-19 crisis. It also urged the ministry to give wide publicity to the "give up" scheme, which encourages senior citizens to give up their concessions voluntarily.
The Ministry of Railways in its action-taken report has stated that in view of the pandemic, concessions to all categories of passengers (except the four categories of Divyangjan, and 11 categories of patients and students) have been withdrawn.
Given the reply of the government, the committee note that as of now, the concession to senior citizens has been withdrawn in view of the pandemic and Covid protocol. The committee are of the view that since the Railways are heading towards normalcy, they should consider the concessions granted to different categories of passengers judiciously.
"The committee desire that concession to senior citizens which was available in pre-COVID times may be reviewed and considered at least in Sleeper Class and III AC urgently, so that the vulnerable and the genuinely needy senior citizens could avail the facility in these classes," the committee headed by BJP leader Radha Mohan Singh said.
The Railways spends around Rs 2,000 crore on senior citizen concessions annually.