A message claiming that the Railway Ministry has resumed the concessions offered to senior citizens with effect from July 1, 2022 has found its way on social media platforms after circulating widely on WhatsApp. The message claims that the Ministry has announced a 40% concession for male travellers over 60 years of age, while 50% for females aged 58 years and above. Newschecker found the claim to be untrue.
Newschecker also received the same message on our WhatsApp tipline (+91-9999499044) requesting to be fact checked.
In addition, a PDF listing 53 categories of persons eligible for concession by the Indian railways is also doing the rounds.
News outlet India Ahead also published a report on June 10, 2022 detailing the restoring of Railway concessions from July 1 including those for the senior citizens.
In March 2020, the Railway Ministry had withdrawn concessional UTS and PRS Ticket for all categories of passengers except students, four categories of Divyang and 11 categories of patients in an attempt “to discourage passengers from undertaking non-essential travel” amid “health advisory issued regarding COVID 19.” Over the past two years, several political parties and senior citizen forums have protested against the Railways’ deision to halt the concessions.
Last month, CPI MP Binoy Viswam had written a letter to Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw requesting him to restore the senior citizen concession in trains. Reportedly, he wrote that concessions were suspended during the onset of covid pandemic for safety and prevention, “with the implicit belief that they would resume after the pandemic abated and the country opened up again. Unfortunately, the government has used the COVID-19 pandemic to permanently remove these concessions, much to the detriment of the people of India.”
Newschecker began our investigation by scanning through the official website of the Railway Ministry and social media accounts associated with it. However, we did not find an announcement or release related to the restoring concession to senior citizens.
We conducted a keyword search for “Senior Citizen Concession Railways” on Google and came across a report by Onmanorama, dated May 21, 2022, with the title ‘No more fare concession for senior citizens on trains.’ As per the report, Union Railways Minister Ashwani Vaishnaw has stated that the fare concession that was allowed for senior citizens for travelling by train will not be restored.
Another report by The New Indian Express, dated May 20, 2022, stated that the concession for senior citizens cannot be resumed as the Railways is already operating at a subsidised rate. It quoted Union Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw saying “For every Rs 100 spent towards operational expenses, the Railways collects only Rs 45 from a passenger. We have to contribute to keeping the railways a sustainable mode of transport.”
However, we did not come across any reports stating that the Railway Ministry has restored the concession offered to senior citizens before the covid outbreak.
Newschecker further contacted the CPRO of Eastern Railways, Ekalabaya Chakraborty who also dismissed the claim. He said that, “neither this ( decision to restore concession) has been discussed nor it is in the pipeline. This is all bogus.”
Next, we tried to verify the authenticity of the viral document and conducted a keyword search that led us to a PDF uploaded on the Indian Railways website with the title ‘Concession list 1.7.2013,’ carrying the same list of 53 categories which are eligible for concession. It should be noted that in March 2020, the Ministry had removed certain categories from the list except 4 categories of Divyang, 11 categories of Patients and Students. Several news outlets reported on the same.
Chakraborty also told us that the ministry had removed categories after covid outbreak. Only students, patients and persons with disabilities are now eligible for concessions.
Further, a tweet by the government’s PIB Fact Check, dated June 16, 2022, clarified that the Railway Ministry has not made any announcement regarding the restoration of concessions to senior citizens. It added that Indian Railways is currently providing concessions to Divyang, patients & students only.
An archived version of the same can be found here.
The Railway Ministry has not announced the restoration of concessions offered to senior citizens with effect from July 1, 2022. Viral claims are fabricated.
Result: Fabricated Content/False
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