E-tickets bought through IRCTC will get costlier as the Indian Railways has decided to restore service charges from September 1, according to an order. The IRCTC will levy a service charge of Rs 15 per ticket for non-AC classes and Rs 30 for AC classes, including first-class, according to the August 30 order issued by IRCTC.
Goods and Services Tax (GST) will be applicable separately. The service charges were withdrawn three years ago to promote digital payments, a pet project of the Narendra Modi-led BJP government. IRCTC used to levy a service charge of Rs 20 on every non-AC e-ticket and Rs 40 for every AC ticket before it was withdrawn.
Earlier this month, the Railway Board had given its approval to the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) to restore the mechanism of charging service charge from passengers booking online tickets. In a letter dated August 30, the Board had said the IRCTC, railways ticketing and tourism arm had made a "detailed case" for the restoration of service charge on booking of the e-ticket and the matter has been examined by the "competent authority".
It further said the Finance Ministry has contended that the scheme of waiving of service charges was a temporary one and that the railway ministry could begin charging e-tickets. Officials say that after service charges were discontinued, IRCTC saw a 26 per cent drop in Internet ticketing revenue in the financial year 2016-17.
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