For the senior citizens, giving up their subsidies for the railways is a substantial sacrifice.
Since July 2017, the railways have given senior citizens the option to avail of either the full concession (100%) given to them on tickets or half of it (50%).
Through the option, it was looking for ways to reduce the Rs 1,300 crore subsidy burden in the senior citizen category, but they probably did not know that it would be a huge success.
According to a Railway official quoted in the Economic Times, till February 22nd, around 10 lakh senior citizens gave up around 100% of their concession, and around 8.5 lakh senior citizens gave up around 50% of the concessional value of passenger fares.
The result? A whopping Rs 28.98 crore saving this fiscal!
This number is a 35% jump, in the said category. At present for the senior citizens, 40% discount is reserved for males, while women get 50% discount on total fare.
This is not the first time senior citizens have given up their fare concessions en-masse. Around 9 lakh senior citizens saved the Railways around Rs 400 crore, in December last year. Read here, about how these senior citizens decided to help the national transporter.
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Senior citizen subsidies often bear a heavy cost on the Railway’s finances. Though it is unavoidable, and subsidies should always exist for those who require them, it is heartening to see responsible seniors giving up what something that they don’t have to.