IRCTC, Indian Railways Come Under CCI Scanner

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IRCTC is the undisputed leader when it comes to online ticketing in India, lakhs of tickets being booked on daily bases. But at the same time the amount of problems faced by travelers while booking on IRCTC site are equally big. There must hardly be any one who has not complained about it!

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has now ordered a probe against Indian Railways & IRCTC for resorting to unfair trade practices. In an official statement, they have mentioned, “that prima facie, a case of contravention of the provisions of the Act is made out against Indian Railways and IRCTC”

The CCI have found 9 different aspects that they want to investigate that include overcharging of fees, compulsory inclusion of Food charges on trains like Shatabdi and Rajdhani, unfair cancellation charges among others.

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Here are the points CCI have mentioned:

1) IRCTC charges services fees over and above normal ticket price. Along with it, if travelers book ticket from IRCTC authorized agents, they have to pay extra agent charges as well. CCI also finds Payment gateway charges and transaction fees (for e-wallet) levied to be unreasonable.

2) The service charge imposed on e-Tickets is non-refundable, even if the passenger needs to cancel the ticket. These charges are over and above the cancellation charges imposed by IRCTC.

3) Online ticket bookings have number of restrictions including break-journey reservations not being allowed and maximum limit of 10 ticket bookings a month for an individual.

4) Under Tatkal Quota huge inventory of tickets is being hoarded based on type of train and class of travel creating artificial scarcity of tickets. The Tatkal quota tickets are then sold at huge premium of upto Rs.400 over and above the normal price.

5) Unfair and discriminatory cancelation and clerkage charges: These are the charges levied for clerical work rendered in refund of fares on cancellation of tickets.

6) On trains like Rajdhani and Shatabdi express, the travelers are not provided with any option to book tickets without their food and catering services.The traveler is compulsorily required to pay the ticket prices inclusive of catering charges, which artificially inflates the railway journey ticket price.

7) Indian Railways has limited the availability of IRCTC agents by charging unreasonable fees for appointment as agents. The one-time fee of Rs.20, 000 and annual fee of Rs.5, 000 is  prohibitive for people desirous of becoming agents.

8) Indian Railways has given long term contracts for Food vendors at railway stations which has led to food court monopoly at larger stations.

9) CCI has also pointed out that IRCTC has not improved technically and have virtually made no gains in increasing train speed or have taken no steps to reduce the travel time.

Overall, CCI has found multiple points that lead to believe that Indian Railways and IRCTC have abused their dominant position by not making adequate efforts to improve their services for travelers. CCI has given a time of 60 days to investigate the same.

In our opinion, CCI has done a great job of ordering a probe. While IRCTC has been taking some steps in recent times to improve their services, it has been far too long that travelers have suffered at their hands. It’s time IRCTC and Indian Railways is taken to task.

What do you think?

"IRCTC, Indian Railways Come Under CCI Scanner", 5 out of 5 based on 1 ratings.

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  1. Lavneet Sharma says

    I think the main cause of IRCTC being so accused is money. IRCTC earns a load of money through advertisements and “tatkal fare”, and that approximates to arround 1.8 crore (according to some blog). Even if they spend 5% of it every month to upgrade their servers, no one would face any problem in booking ticket during tatkal.

  2. Partha says

    Over and above the issues mentioned, the reservation system is not sticking to its main job of ticket booking and related activities only. If you see the web site main page, there are options to do flight booking, hotels etc. and even direct advertisements from Docomo etc. Are these necessary, that too for a Govt. site? Are the Indian Railways looking to make some extra buck through these unnecessary deviations and advertisements? And that too at the cost of poor online customer who has to bear the additional bandwidth taken by these unwanted items on the web site.

    High time the IRCTC web site focuses directly on its main job, that of ticket reservation. The opening page should be as focused as Google.

  3. gauri says

    Solutions:-

    1. Privatization of Indian railways
    2. FDI
    3. Recruit qualified Project Managers/Digital Managers – improve Website and features

  4. Imti says

    I GIVE UP!!
    It is practically impossible to book ticket Under Tatkal Quota through http://www.irctc.co.in.
    My best bet is to contact the local agent who charge double the price of the ticket.
    He has a very good record, never failed to delivery!!!.

    1. Lavneet Sharma says

      Yes. And that’s because of the low grade, poor quality servers implemented by IRCTC which could not even handle a traffic of 50,000 users. My friend suggested me an alternate, http://www.irctcalternate.com from where I booked my tatkal ticket.

  5. S Sundararajan says

    “Under Tatkal Quota huge inventory of tickets is being hoarded based on type of train and class of travel creating artificial scarcity of tickets ” Exactly true. it is unfair practice. Railway have found more unique ways to recover money by way of one charges or other. A full investigation will bring all such excess charges to the front

  6. S Sundararajan says

    “Under Tatkal Quota huge inventory of tickets is being hoarded based on type of train and class of travel creating artificial scarcity of tickets ” Exactly true. it is unfair practice. Raiways have found more unique ways to recover money by way of one charges or other. A full investigation will bring all such excess charges to the front

  7. SR says

    Fully agree. Just for reality check try booking tatkal tkts and eating the food served by food court

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