Extending concessions to all passengers not feasible at present: Rail Minister

New Delhi: The government on Wednesday told the Lok Sabha that it is not practicable to extend railway concessions to all categories of passengers under the existing circumstances.

"As a result of the challenges faced by COVID-19, total passenger revenue earned during 2020-21 is lower than in the year 2019-20 pre-COVID period." "Because the cost of awarding concessions weighs heavily on Railways, extending the scope of concessions to other categories of passengers, including senior persons, is not acceptable at this time," Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha.

With effect from March 20, 2020, Indian Railways continued concession to only four categories of Divyangjan, eleven categories of patients and students in light of the pandemic and Covid protocol. "Despite the aforementioned obstacles, Railways has continued to grant concessions to passengers, specifically four categories of Divyangjans, eleven categories of patients, and students," Vaishnaw stated.

Meanwhile, in response to another question, the minister stated that the Railways has resumed operating of 99 percent of the Mail/Express train services that it operated before to the Covid. To avoid the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, Indian Railways has announced the cancellation of all regular passenger trains beginning March 23, 2020.

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