Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to restore the fare concessions offered to senior citizens by the railways.
In a letter to the prime minister on Saturday last, he said the Centre has a budget of Rs 45 lakh crore and it would incur a cost of Rs 1600 crore if it extends the concession to senior citizens.
Terming the amount as a drop in the ocean, he said the government will not become rich by not spending the amount.
By stopping the facility a message was being given to senior citizens that the government did not care for them which was against the culture of the country, he said, adding that no person, society or country can progress without the blessings of the elderly. Delhi was seeing progress in all areas due to the blessings of the elderly for whom free pilgrimage of religious places has been arranged by his government, he said.
The Centre had in 2020 discontinued the concessions granted to senior citizens to discourage the movement of the public to arrest the spread of COVID-19 A parliamentary standing committee has recently recommended the resumption of the fare concession offered to senior citizens by the railways.
The Indian Railways used to offer a 40 per cent discount in fares to males aged 60 years or above and for females, a 50 per cent discount was given if the minimum age was 58 years.
These concessions were granted in fares of all classes of Mail/Express/Rajdhani/ Shatabdi/Duranto group of trains but were withdrawn on March 20, 2020.
The Standing Committee on Railways headed by BJP MP Radha Mohan Singh said from the information furnished by the Railways, the Covid situation has now been normalised and the national transporter has achieved normal growth.
“The Committee, in their 12th Action Taken Report (17th Lok Sabha) on Passenger Reservation System had also desired that the concessions to senior citizens which were available in pre-Covid times may be reviewed and considered at least in Sleeper Class and 3A Class so that the vulnerable and genuinely needy citizens could avail the facility in these classes.
“The Committee, therefore, reiterate their earlier recommendation contained in their above-said report and urge upon the Railways to consider empathically for resumption of concessions in fares to senior citizens particularly in Sleeper Class and 3A Class under intimation to this Committee,” the report said.
The Railways, however, said it had no immediate plans to resume the concession.