Major Digital push by Indian Railways in the wake of Demonetisation

Post the government’s demonetization decision, in an effort to promote digital payment, the Railways has deployed an additional 465 points of sale (PoS) machines at 217 locations across the country. The plan is to install at least 10,000 point of sale (POS) machines at all the passengers reservation centers, major parcel offices and suburban stations in order to facilitate cashless payment by 31 December. This is being facilitated by a tie up with SBI. These machines will be using debit/credit cards as well as cash at its public reservation system (PRS) counters followed by unreserved ticketing systems (UTS) at suburban stations.

There will be no additional burden on the travelers since Railways will pay 0.75% merchant discount rate (MDR) through debit cards up to and above Rs2,000 transaction. For credit cards and foreign cards the rate will be 1.50% and 2.50%. In fact, as an additional incentive, a 0.5% discount is also being provided on season tickets purchased digitally with effect from 1st January 2017. In addition, a 5% discount will be given on online payment for services such as e-catering and booking of retiring rooms. Also, free insurance would be provided for tickets booked online.

At present, cashless transactions account for 58% through the IRCTC website. This move aims to digitalize the payment of the remaining 42%. The Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu tweeted that a shift to digital model of payment would mean a reduction of cash requirement by Rs. 1,000 crore annually.