Modi govt refuses to restore train concessions to senior citizens. Condemnable decision. Expressstrong protest.
Senior citizens were granted concessions in train fare since more than two decades. Earlier, the concessions were granted to men aged 65 and women aged 58. The required age for men were reduced after many representations. Till two years ago women aged 58 and above were granted 50% concession and 40% concessions to men aged 60 and above. Representations were made to grant 50% concessions to men also.
After BJP came in to power, it started creating clever moves to take away the concessions. First it was complicating the booking of tickets both direct and online by putting an option due to which the passengers were to specifically make an option for concession. Those who were not aware were compelled to pay the full charge.
Next step was withdrawing the concession in February 2020 by a post in the Railway website withdrawing the concessions to senior citizens and other certain categories citing Covid situation. It was a clever move that too secretly.
But even after situation eased and train started running, the concessions are not restored. Now, to a question in Parliament the real colour of the govt has been exposed, when the Railway Minister refused to restore concession.
The govt’s intention is very clear. Railways are being made ready for privatisation. The private companies will not be prepared for granting conessions as it will reduce their profit.
More than 4 lakhs vacancies exist in Railways without being filled causing acute shortage of staff even in operations side. Posts are not being filled up due to 2 main reasons. Private corporates want to run with less staff.
Another reason is that when vacancies are being filled up, reservations have to be made to SC, ST and other reserved categories by govt. Private corporates will never agree to this. They may even retrench such officials as they tried in VSNL after Tata took it over.
Earlier 50% concessions were granted in fare by Air India to senior citizens above the age of 60. Now it has been curtailed with many restrictions. After take over by Tata, even this limited concession may disappear.
There is no doubt that Modi govt is taking away the rights and concessions granted to people to please the corporates. Strong protests and sustained struggles and exposure of govt is required to defend the rights of citizens, the correct way shown by the Kisans.