Social media posts on restoring concession for senior citizens on trains: Here's the truth

New train to Rameswaram, a long-term demand of Kerala commuters met by Railways. Photo: Shutterstock/Amitali

A purported notice from the Central Railway Ministry announcing the restoration of senior citizen concession in train tickets from July 1 has been circulating on social media.

According to these posts, male passengers aged above 60 years are eligible for a 40-percent concession and females above 58 years have a 50-percent concession while purchasing train tickets. We received an alert on our 'Fact Check' number 8129100164 regarding this post, and here are the findings of the investigation.

Checking the facts
On searching the Internet with the keywords in the post, it was found that Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw had replied to a question by Binoy Viswam in Parliament on senior citizens’ concession on February 3, 2022.

In the reply, the Vaishnaw said: “The Railway Standing Committee suggested that the matter regarding granting of ticket concessions to senior citizens travelling in the sleeper and third AC could be examined.

During the year 2019-20, the Central Government spent Rs 59,837 crore as subsidy for passenger tickets. In other words, the Central Government is already meeting 53 per cent of the average travel expenses of railway passengers as a subsidy. In addition to this subsidy, special concessions on train tickets are offered to differently-abled passengers, students and patients travelling in trains.”

In this reply, the Minister did not make any mention of restoring the concession for senior citizens. The concessions for senior citizens were withdrawn in March 2020 along with several other discounts as part of the measures to control the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. Before this decision, the railway provided a 50-percent concession in train fare for women aged above 58 years and a 40-percent concession for men above 60 years.

Later, in July 2022, Vaishnaw told the Parliament that the concessions would cause a heavy financial burden for the government. Moreover, income from ticket sales had decreased following the COVID-19 crisis, the minister added.

Several mainstream media outlets published the minister’s statement.

In order to clarify the issue further, we contacted railway authorities, who said that the social media posts highlighted an old concession list.

“No official order has been issued by the railways restoring the concession for senior citizens,” they said.

The railway has not made any announcement on resuming sales of concession tickets to senior citizens from July 1. The posts in this regard on social media are fake news.

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