Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation
||This article appears to be written like an advertisement. (January 2012)|
|Type||Subsidiary of the Indian Railways|
|Headquarters||New Delhi, NCT, India|
|Services||Catering, Tourism and Online Ticketing|
IRCTC Online ticketing
Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation, abbreviated to IRCTC, is a subsidiary of the Indian Railways that handles the catering, tourism and online ticketing operations of the railways.
As per new railway catering policy 2010 (introduced by Railways Minister Mamata Banerjee), catering services provided by IRCTC were handed over to Indian Railways. Now IRCTC is in charge of catering services on few trains such as all Duranto Exp., Farakka Exp., Maitree Express (train between India and Bangladesh), Kandhari Exp. and some Rajdhani Exp. rest all of train operated by zonal railways across India. IRCTC also started non railway catering project under which cafeteria were operated in many Indian ministries and institutes.
IRCTC is known for changing the face of railway ticketing in India. It pioneered internet-based rail ticket booking through its website, as well as from the mobile phones via GPRS or SMS. In addition to e-tickets, IRCTC also offers I-tickets that are basically like regular tickets except that they are booked online and delivered by post. The tickets PNR status is also made available. Commuters on the Mumbai Suburban Railway can also book season tickets through the IRCTC website. IRCTC has also launched a loyalty program called Shubh Yatra for frequent travellers. Through this program, passengers can avail of discounts on all tickets booked round the year by paying an upfront annual fee.
Seeking to make it easier to book e-tickets, IRCTC launched a scheme called Rolling Deposit Scheme (RDS). RDS is a hassle-free e-ticket booking scheme allowing passengers to reserve seats against advance money kept with the corporation. IRCTC has also added flights and hotels booking facilities to their line of online reservation services.
Generally there is a huge load on the website at 10 am, when booking of Tatkal tickets opens. The booking of tickets varies from time to time based on festivals and vacations. IRCTC is currently using 58 iridium servers and 10 more servers to be added to cater the heavy traffic in peak hours.
As of May 2013, the ticketing site of the IRCTC is able to handle about 1.2 lakh concurrent connections on web servers and can book about 2000 tickets per minute. Indian Railways plans to spend about 100 crore (US$15 million) to strengthen the website to enable it for booking 7200 tickets per minute. CRIS, the technical arm of railways, is involved in the upgrading of the IRCTC website.
According to a senior Railway Ministry official, the average booking per day has been increased from 3.67 lakh in 2012 to 4.15 lakh in May 2013. Approximately, 31 crore reserve tickets are booked in a year out of which 55% of tickets are sold through windows, 37% of tickets are booked online and 8% are booked by ticketing agents. IRCTC's highest ever single day booking is 5.02 lakh e-tickets on 1 March 2013.
IRCTC also organizes budget and deluxe package tours for domestic and foreign tourists. A popular tourism package for budget tourists covering important tourist destination across India is "Bharat Darshan". Luxury tourism packages are also available, that involve special luxury trains such as Palace on Wheels, Royal Orient Express, Golden Chariot, Deccan Odyssey, Royal Rajasthan on Wheels, Buddhist Circuit Train and IRCTC is a partner in the Maharajas’ Express operation.
Apart from conventional tourism, IRCTC also offers adventure tourism packages that include water sports, adventure and wildlife treks, etc. A provision for customizing tours as per specific requirements is also an added attraction.
Under the Tatkal scheme, passengers who plan their journey at short notice can book their tickets in almost all Mail/Express trains through the Indian railways internet portal. The booking starts at 10:00 AM daily, one day prior to the departure of the train from source station. Tatkal Reservation through IRCTC portal is criticized by numerous media releases, due to its inefficiency and slow server speed. Many[who?] IT expert suggests that simple steps are not being taken by the IRCTC management which can easily resolve these issues and some time these are being linked to corruption in the entire ticketing system.
Awards and achievements
Within a short span of its going online, the IRCTC website had become the largest and the fastest growing e-commerce website in the Asia-Pacific region, with about six lakh registered users in 2003.
Some of the other awards won by IRCTC are:
- Awarded the National Award for E-Governance, 2007-08 jointly by Department of IT, Govt. of India and Govt. of Haryana.
- Awarded the Genius of the Web Award 2007 for being the "Best E-Governance PSU Site" by CNBC.
- IRCTC Tourism Unit of West Zone declared winner for the category Best Value Leisure Product in Travel and Tourism Fair of India (TTF & OTM 2008) held in Mumbai from 9 to 11 February 2008.
- Won National award for E-Governance for being "Best Citizen Centric Application" for the year 2007-08.
- IRCTC Tourism Unit declared winner for the category Most Innovative Product in Travel and Tourism Fair of India (TTF & OTM 2007) held in Mumbai from 10 to 12 February 2007.
- Won CSI-Nihilent E-Governance award for "Best E-Governance Project" in 2007.
- Won the ICICI Bank Retail Excellence Award in 2005.
- Won Path Breaker Award from Dataquest in 2003 and 2004.
- Shubh Yatra loyalty program Seeking to make it easier to book e-tickets, IRCTC launched a scheme called Rolling Deposit Scheme (RDS).
- IRCTC to launch 'Rolling Deposit Scheme' for e-ticket - Economic Times. Articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com (2012-08-28). Retrieved on 2013-09-23.
- "IRCTC to introduce Rolling Deposit Scheme for E-Ticketing". Retrieved 31 August 2013.
- Soon, IRCTC website to book 7,200 tickets per minute - Times Of India. Articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com (2013-05-27). Retrieved on 2013-09-23.
- "IRCTC website to go 4x faster, book 7200 tickets per minute". Retrieved 31 August 2013.
- Soon, IRCTC website to book 7,200 tickets per minute - Times Of India. Timesofindia.indiatimes.com (2013-05-27). Retrieved on 2013-09-23.
- IRCTC books record 5.02 lakh e-tickets on single day - Times Of India. Articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com (2013-03-02). Retrieved on 2013-09-23.
- Bharat Darshan
- Gupta, Jayanta (2010-03-19). "Rs 1 lakh a night on Maharajas’ Express". Times of India. Retrieved 2010-04-06.
- Welcome to Indian Railway Passenger reservation Enquiry. Indianrail.gov.in (2006-06-30). Retrieved on 2013-09-23.
- "At your doorstep". The Hindu.[dead link]
- Official website
- Official Ticketing website
- Indian Rail Gov - for train and PNR inquiries
- Indian Railways PNR Status