In a bid to promote digital transaction, the government-owned IRCTC had withdrawn service charge levy on booking of e-tickets soon after demonetisation. The move, it seems, has made a dent in the revenues of country's largest e-ticketing portal.
According to a report in The Economic Times, Centre's decision to withdraw service charge on e-tickets cost IRCTC a 26 per cent drop in internet ticketing revenue to Rs 466.05 crore in financial year 2016-17. Prior to note ban, IRCTC used to levy a service charge of Rs 20 on every non-AC e-ticket and Rs 40 for every AC e-ticket.
The e-ticketing portal sold about 209 million tickets during 2016-17, a 5 per cent jump from 199 million tickets sold in 2015-2016. The value of tickets booked online increased just 2 per cent to Rs 24,485.21 crore, the report said.
According to the report, IRCTC logged a 4.7 per cent increase in total income at Rs 1,596.31 crore in FY17 while both gross margin and profit before tax grew just over 7 per cent to Rs 353.42 crore and Rs 211.71 crore respectively.
Service charge withdrawal took a toll on operating margins, which came in lower at 41.17 per cent in 2016-17 as compared with 42.93 per cent in 2015-16, it added.
In a bid to push Aadhaar, Indian Railways had increased the monthly cap on tickets booked on the IRCTC portal from six to 12 for Aadhaar-verified passengers. IRCTC said passengers can continue to book up to six tickets a month without validating their Aadhaar cards.
On the IRCTC portal, six passengers can be reserved on a single ticket under general quota while Tatkal bookings allow four passengers per ticket.