To make the railway experience more passenger-friendly, Indian Railways has been bringing about small but significant changes in their operations. Now, the railways, with Piyush Goyal at its helm is set to roll out a new facility to enhance the onboard catering service by Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC). Trains that have pantries such as Rajdhani Express and Duronto Express will now have an IRCTC manager to address food related complaints such as substandard quality or overcharging.
As mentioned in a Times of India report, the manager would attend to the complaints even when the train is in motion. In order to facilitate the new feature, the Indian Railways would reserve a dedicated berth or seat for the IRCTC manager onboard. The manager would report to the 'Train Captain' at the railway station from where the train originates. He would have an authority letter and a valid ID proof.
The commercial directorate issued a circular on July 2 regarding this order.
This move comes after Indian Railways introduced 'Menu on Rails' last month where prices of meals are listed to make sure that passengers are not overcharged onboard. Passengers travelling by Rajdhani, Shatabdi, Duronto, Gatiman, Humsafar and Tejas Express and other mail and express trains can utilise this app. Additionally, an order was also passed by Indian Railways stating that if the vendor fails to provide the passenger with a bill, then the passenger need not have to pay for the food.
With the Centre slashing GST rates, prices of meals served on trains have also taken a dip. Food served to passengers by IRCTC has been made cheaper by Rs 3 to Rs 10. Catering charges on premium trains were also cut by Rs 40 to Rs 60 depending on the class of travel. The change in pricing has also altered ticket fares in premium trains that include 18% GST on catering charges. "Catering charges and GST are collected along with ticket fare in premium trains. Since GST on catering charges has been reduced to five per cent, the ticket fare may get reduced by Rs 20 to Rs 60 a ticket depending upon the class of travel and distance," the railway board order said.Moreover, as a step towards their commitment to environment preservation, IRCTC launched its trial run of eco-friendly food packaging on 8 select Rajdhani and Shatabdi trains from New Delhi last month. Passengers on these trains would be served meals on eco-friendly disposable plates instead of the polymer ones. Railways' green initiative is replacing these polymer utensils with bagasse-based ones.