To enhance the notion of cashless transactions, Indian Railways have taken an extensively favorable step. Now, rail tickets can be booked with the help of UPI (Unified Payment Interfaces). With the help of government supported application, BHIM, payments at the reservation counters can be made through UPI. This facility will be made available through PRS (Passenger Reservation System).
The initiative is highly inclined towards promoting the cashless transactions. This has implemented from December 1st, 2017. For initial three months, passengers will not be charged anything extra for making the payments.
Although, for e-counters, this facility was available, now has been extended to offline counters as well.
Mohammad Jamshed, who is Railway Board Member says, “We are going to roll out UPI-based payment system at all reservation counters across the country”.
As of now, the system will only serve the reservation counters.
As per the reports, more than 97 percent of the tickets which are sold at PRS are dealt in cash. This brings a huge scope of uplifting the idea of digital India. Very few of them account for debit or credit card payments.
Also, another data says, railway sells more than 8 lakh tickets on the daily basis. Out of this number, 5 lakh tickets are booked at all the PRS counters.
Jamshed also added, “Now a passenger does not have to carry his credit/debit card, as they will be able to book it through BHIM app through a mobile phone”.
The information from officials also says that Railway department is working extensively towards building Bharat QR code. This will be carried out for conveniently booking the tickets. The official also said, “Once it’s completed, passengers just need to scan the QR code to make payments”.
The railway section has a humongous revenue of Rs. 110 crore on the daily basis. This is the data for reserved tickets. In this, e-tickets amount for Rs. 80 crore and Rs. 30 crore amount for the tickets which are sold at reservation counters.
Earlier, the passenger could only use UPI payments via IRCTC websites. But, constant efforts in this direction has made it possible to run this payment method for offline counters also.
In this process, the passenger will scan a QR code at the counter. The railway department is also in the process of using the BharatQR as a possible option of making payments.
In the month of August, NPCI (National Payments Corporation of India) mentioned that QR codes which are provided by UPI will be further merged with BharatQR.
NPCI has rolled out the instructions that, banks have to make their applications compatible with UPI QR and BharatQR by an end date of September 15th, 2017.
There has been a thriving change in the methods of booking tickets. The number of tickets which are booked offline is becoming a lesser preference of the passengers. As per the data of 2011-2012, there was a huge gap between counter ticket booking and IRCTC ticket booking. While, at counters, 61.46% tickets were booked, through IRCTC, 38.54% tickets were booked. This shows a fathomable progress in the data of online booking.
If we look at the current stats, ticket booking through IRCTC has reached to 70% after last year October. This has been seen as a stark impact of demonetization move.
A Multifold of UPI Transactions
UPI transactions have seen a stark improvement in last 3-4 months. While in the month of September, UPI transactions amounted to Rs. 5293 crore, it increased at a mammoth pace within next 3 months. By the month of November, the amount of UPI truncations reached to Rs. 9679.2 crore.
With an increased contribution to technological advancement, the number of transactions has been multiplying. The recently launched application of Google called Tez has done fairly well. More than 7.5 million users landed on the application which amounted to at least 30 million transactions. With this, major technological players in the market are planning to launch the P2P money transfer facilities.