Railways ministry mulls plan to close private booking agent service

The Ministry of Railways is considering barring private vendors and agents from booking train tickets for passengers. Railways Minister Piyush Goyal has said that they are no longer needed when tickets can be booked by anyone on a mobile. “I think vendors and private agents are not needed, those who need help in buying tickets can go to “common service centres” which are run by the government,” he said in Lok Sabha, adding that he was considering barring them. Reacting to this, the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IMAI) in a letter to the minister said that the proposal will affect employment generated by over 3 lakh agents network and also the revenue of IRCTC.

“We would like to highlight that there are more than 100 service providers offering these services through 3,00,000 agent networks. The closure of their services will not only impact the investments are done and employment generated by these agents but will also affect the revenue of IRCTC, as there are many people in India who need assistance for booking the tickets,” Subho Ray, President, IAMAI said in the letter.

IAMAI urged the minister to postpone the discussion on abolition of the service provider system of IRCTC considering the current situation around coronavirus which requires social distancing.
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