There is good news for Rail passengers and they will continue to enjoy service charge exemption on tickets booked online till March 2018.
The government had waived service charges after demonetisation in November last year to encourage digital modes of booking. The facility had been extended to 30 June and then 30 September. Service charges on booking train tickets online through the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) range from Rs20 to Rs40 per ticket.
In a 29 September missive to the IRCTC, the ticketing agency of the railways, the Railway Board directed that the benefits be extended till March next year. Senior railway officials say that almost 33% of the IRCTC revenue comes from the service charge collected on online bookings.
As per the revenue collection of the last financial year, about Rs540 crore of IRCTC's revenue of over Rs1,500 crore came from ticket bookings. An amount of around Rs184 crore has not been realized from passengers on account of service charge and service tax thereon on reserved tickets booked online from 23 November 2016 to 28 February 2017, according to railways data.