Railways Act to check e-Ticketing fraud in India
We all know that Indian Railways is called the country's lifeline. It is the fourth-largest rail network in the country. In the year 1986, the first computer-based ticket reservation started in New Delhi. Railway website irctc.co.in is one of the most visited websites in the world. Do you know that the railway network in India is so big that the whole earth can be encircled once?
With the development of Railways, facilities are increasing and crime is also increasing day by day. Nowadays, we can book ticket easily while sitting in the house. There is no need to stand in the Railway counter for booking ticket. But as much as it is easier to generate tickets, frauds via e-ticketing have increased. Let us study from this article about the bill that has been proposed to stop e-ticketing fraud in Indian Railways.
What is e-ticket fraud?
In the context of Indian Railways Reservations, Scalpers use the software in the market for booking tickets and resell or sell them at a higher price. With the help of the internet, they book tickets which are fake or are never delivered. The proliferation of online ticket agencies and the existence of experienced and dishonest ticket resellers have fuelled this kind of fraud.
Which Act has been proposed to amend the e-Ticketing Fraud in Railways?
Let us tell you that to prevent the Indian Railway Online Ticketing Scam, railways is mulling an amendment to the Railways Act, 1989 to include a provision of penalising those committing e-ticketing fraud. The amendment that is proposed has suggested a fine of more than two lakh rupees for the offence. But the proposal, however, has not suggested an increase in the three-year jail term for those convicted.
The Railways Ministry said that the need to include a new provision has been felt to reduce the case of such fraud. After amending this new Act, it will be included. This new provision has been proposed by the Railway Protection Force. It is yet to be approved by the Railway Board and further. This proposal also includes a hike in fines for causing a nuisance, especially against women passengers and encroachment of compartments reserved for people with disabilities or women and littering.
Do you know that in one of the biggest railway ticketing scams, the Central Railways had arrested a man from Mumbai on 2nd May, who allegedly used fake software to help touts book Tatkal tickets in just a matter of seconds? And you know with the help of the software, he earned over 35 lakh rupees in a month. One more case was exposed last year in December i.e. a CBI official and his companion allegedly manipulated Tatkal ticket reservation system of the railways through an illegal software. They were subsequently arrested.
We know that the present act of Indian Railways does not have mentioned e-ticket frauds, but does have a provision to punish those touts who illegally sell, purchase or attempts to sell or purchase tickets. According to the earlier act, the person who commits this type of crime will be imprisoned for a term which may exceed to three years or with fine which may extend to ten thousand rupees or with both.
The amended Act seeks to empower the authorized personnel of RPF, Commercial, and Vigilance Departments to deal with cases related to the new provisions. Currently, people those who are arrested for online frauds have been booked under the Information and Technology Act with relevant provisions of the Indian Penal Code.
In order to prevent the activities of unscrupulous elements/touts in the booking of e-tickets including Tatkal tickets, various checks or measures have been taken by Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC). These measures are mentioned below:
- For only 2 Tatkal tickets there is a restriction per user from 1000 hours to 1200 hours.
- For Tatkal ticket bookings there is an introduction of Random Security Questions.
- To retail service providers (gents) there is a restriction of only one tatkal ticket per day per train.
- There is a restriction of creation of only one IRCTC User ID on a given mobile number and email ID.
- In a month an individual user can book 6 Railway tickets only. There is a limit that has been set. This can be enhanced to 12 railway tickets per month if users have linked their IRCTC user ID with their Aadhar number, and at least one of the passengers in the passenger list is verifiable through Aadhar.
- There is a restriction of only one booking in one user login session except for return/onward journey between 0800 and 1200 hours.
- At three places dynamic CAPTCHA has been introduced namely registration, login and booking page to check fraudulent booking through automation software.
- Checks on the minimum time required to enter passenger details and display of CAPTCHA at the time of e-ticket booking by users.
- During the first fifteen minutes of opening of Advance Reservation Period (ARP) booking and Tatkal booking, there is a restriction on authorised agents of IRCTC for booking tickets.
- Regular drives are being conducted by RPF against persons/agencies found involved in unauthorised carrying on a business of procuring and supplying of railway tickets. The offenders are booked under section 143 of the Railways Act.
- Use of PRABAL query-based application for verification of IRCTC IDs to detect the cases of illegal E-ticketing with follow up action.
The above-mentioned information is provided by the Minister of Railways and Commerce and Industry, Shri Piyush Goyal.