On Thursday Indian Railways unveiled a new business plan for year 2017-18 and noted that it would be working to integrate Aadhaar card data with the online ticketing system. In other words, the Railways may soon make Aadhaar card mandatory for booking train tickets online on the IRCTC website.
Although, this “mandatory” could be only for tickets where the passengers seek some sort of concessions. Already for train tickets for senior citizens, Indian Railways requires Aadhaar. For now that too is optional from April 1, it will become mandatory.
The plan, detailed by Indian Railways minister Suresh Prabhu, notes that the organisation will seek to do a “transformation of ticketing by migrating towards cashless, paperless ticketing, Aadhaar-based ticketing and an integrated ticketing App by May 2017.” The plan is also to have 6000 point of sales machines and 1000 Ticket Vending Machines in 2017-18.
Earlier in December Indian Railways had made it optional for senior citizens to supply Aadhaar card details while booking a train ticket. This, according to Indian Railways, ensures that ticket concessions reach right people. This time around, however, chances are anyone using IRCTC website will have to supply the Aadhaar card details, especially if they seek to get some sort of concession while booking the tickets.
PTI reports that the Railways is moving towards Aadhaar enabled ticketing system so that it can “prevent touts from blocking a bulk of tickets, end fraudulent bookings and curb cases of impersonation.”
“Aadhaar number will be required for one-time registration at the IRCTC ticketing site. The step is aimed at eliminating touts from registering with fake identities,” a senior Railways official told the news agency, adding that the Railways is preparing a software for the purpose.
Although the Supreme Court had earlier said that Aadhaar card should not be made mandatory for basic and essential services, the government has gradually has added to list a number of services where Aadhaar card makes it easier to get service. In this case too, the government seem to be following the same plan. For online train booking, which is convenient and is used by millions of people in India, it seems Aadhaar card will be made mandatory. Those who don’t have the card, will not be denied the rail ticket. It is just that they will have to stand in a queue at a ticketing counter and spend at least couple of hours buying a ticket at the crowded train stations.