IRCTC's revenue "reduced drastically" by almost 64 per cent during 2020-21 as compared to 2019-20 due to Covid-related travel restrictions, Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said on Wednesday. Vaishnaw added that the revenue increased gradually after the situation normalised.
Alongside this, the IRCTC has received more than 5,000 complaints related to quality of food in trains in the past seven months, the minister revealed.
Company's market capitalisation went up, reveals Vaishnaw
Replying to a query in Lok Sabha, Vaishnaw said in 2019-2020, the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation earned Rs 2,342.41 crore, which went down to Rs 861.64 crore during the Covid-affected 2020-21. In 2021-22, the IRCTC earned Rs 1,952.30 crore.
"Revenue during FY 2020-21 has reduced drastically as compared to FY 2019-20 due to travel restrictions imposed during Covid-19 by the Government of India. However, after lifting of restrictions and starting of cooked food in trains during FY 2021-22, the revenue again gradually increased," he said.
He also said the estimated number of rail passengers who have used IRCTC for booking train tickets during 2019-2020 is 5,229 lakh, followed by 3,052 lakh in 2020-21, and 7,343 lakh in 2021-22.
In the current fiscal, till October 31, 4,607 lakh passengers have booked tickets through IRCTC, he said.
The minister said apart from IRCTC, there are various key players across online ticketing sector such as Makemytrip and Easemytrip.
"However, the business of these companies cannot be compared with IRCTC, due to the presence of the IRCTC in other segments such as catering, travel and tourism as well as Railneer in addition to internet ticketing.
The company's market capitalization has, however, increased to Rs 61,976 crore as on March 31, 2022, from Rs 11,644 crore since its listing (14th October, 2019)," he said.
Replying to a query in Lok Sabha, Vaishnaw said between April 1, 2022, and October 31, 2022, the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation received a total of 5,869 complaints of food quality in trains.
"On receipt of any complaint of food quality, appropriate action, including penalty, is taken against the service provider of IRCTC.
"It is the continuous endeavour of Indian Railways to provide good quality and hygienic food to passengers as per norms and standards prescribed by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI)," the minister said.
He also informed that the 'Optional Catering Service' has been introduced in all premium trains (Rajdhani, Shatabdi, Duronto, Gatiman, Tejas, Vande Bharat) with effect from September 2019.
"In this scheme, passengers are being provided with the option, at the time of booking tickets, to opt out of the pre-paid catering facilities being provided in these trains," he said.
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