IRCTC’s Aadhaar-based Reservation

Indian Railways is one of the major catalysts for the nation’s social and economic development. Ranked as the fourth largest railway network in the world, it has played a significant role in connecting the fragmented markets, thus, encouraging the Indian economic growth.

IRCTC’s Aadhaar-based Reservation
It’s a lifeline for a large number of people throughout the nation as it offers them more reliable, faster, and lower cost of movement as compared to the other modes of transportation. The number of ways Indian railways contributes in our nation's development is endless. On the flip side, Indian Railways has faced fraudulent activities for some time now. Fraudsters book tickets in plenty, using fake identities, and sell them at elevated prices. In addition, they also misuse the concessions and benefits given to people from different strata of the Indian population. Due to such unethical practices, each year, the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) bears huge loss in its business.

The government took its first step to kill these unethical practises by making Aadhaar card mandatory for PRS railway reservation for senior citizens. The plan was to be implemented from April 1; however, it failed to take off due to technical constraints in validating the Aadhaar numbers. Currently, the Aadhaar card is an option for railway reservation or availing concessions. The Aadhaar card for railway reservation may come into action sometime in future but for now, the Railways is creating a database of senior citizens based on their Aadhaar details on voluntary basis.

Aadhaar card, the largest biometric identity project, was introduced with an aim to eliminate red tape, fraudulent practices, and black money. It is due to these benefits, the government announced a mandatory rule for people to link their Aadhaar cards to their LPG gas accounts, bank accounts, PAN card, and many other such services. It is also one of the reasons why the government had proposed to link the Aadhaar with the railway ticket reservation system. Since the Aadhaar-based train reservations may be implemented in the future, let’s have a look at the benefits that it holds for us.
  • Concessions to Those Who Deserve: The primary advantage of using Aadhaar card for railway reservation is to give concessions to those who rightfully deserve it. Before giving any customer a concession, the Railway officials will verify their Aadhaar details to ensure the concessions or other benefits given by the Indian Railways goes to the rightful individual. Currently, the IRCTC offers a plethora of concessions and benefits under more than 50 categories, which includes army personnel, senior citizens, and physically disabled.
  • Riddance from the Middlemen: It is the middlemen who have corrupted the Indian Railways’ booking system. They buy railway tickets in bulk and sell them at high prices. This practise not only puts consumers to a great disadvantage but also to the Railways. The Aadhaar based booking system will help in eliminating these middlemen who earn by unethical means. With the Aadhaar based booking system, people will start buying tickets from the IRCTC ticket booking portal or at the ticket booking counters, thus, bringing money to the Indian Railways instead of those middlemen. Aadhaar based booking system will also help in making more seats available to people when they book tickets, which are otherwise blocked by the agents.
  • Stop Fraudulent Activities: Yet another benefit of the Aadhaar based booking system is that it will put a stop to all fraudulent activities. The IRCTC offers numerous concessions and benefits under more than 50 categories. To avail these concessions and discounts, people create fake identities. Because of such fraudulent activities, the Railways bears huge financial loss. This will not be possible if the Aadhaar based booking system comes into play. Since the Aadhaar has a unique number, which contains your demographic as well as biometric details, it will be impossible for people to practice such fraudulent activities.
  • Reduce the Administrative Work: Before Aadhaar, there were several documents such as PAN card, driving license, voter card, and so on, required as identity proofs, address proofs, birth proof, and so on. With the Aadhaar based booking system, the travellers will no longer have to submit so many documents for the concessions and other purposes as the Aadhaar is a multipurpose card that serves the purpose of identity, address, and birth proof. The Railways officers will also no longer need to manage so many documents for each traveller, thus, reducing the administrative work. Even for the verification process, the information of an individual, the Railway officers will only have to validate their Aadhaar number instead of other different documents such as voter card and so on.