Indian Railway Catering And Tourism
The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation or, better known as IRCTC was born around 27th September, 1999 as a subsidiary of the Indian Railway that manages four services of catering, tourism, tatkal booking and online ticket booking for the Indian Railways.
The then railway minister Ms Mamta Banerjee in 2010 had handed over the responsibility of catering services to Indian Railways. This service was previously handled by the IRCTC. There is another service provided by IRCTC under the Non Railway Catering (NRC) project which operated many cafeterias in many Indian Ministries as well as the institutes.
Services Offered By IRCTC
There are primarily 4 services provided by the IRCTC viz. Catering, online ticketing, tourism and tatkal booking.
In its catering services, according to the new policy of 2010, they were provided to Indian Railways. IRCTC is in charge of only a few of the express train services like the Duranto Express, Farakka Express, Maitree Express, Kandhari Express and some of the Rajdhani Express. The rest of the trains is served by the Zonal Railway railway stations entirely across all the places in India.
Online Ticket Booking
There is a great acknowledgement that goes to IRCTC for changing the face of booking tickets of railways in India. They were the pioneers of e-ticket booking which is totally internet based. Both booking and cancellation can be done online. Along with e-tickets, IRCTC has I-tickets on offer as well. I-tickets are regular tickets booked online and delivered by post, with the PNR status of the ticket made available by IRCTC. This helps in comforting the efforts of anyone looking to travel by Indian Railway.
There is a regular huge rush on the IRCTC website at 10 am, the time for opening tatkal booking. The booking state varies depending upon the seasons and has an uncontrollable rush during vacations and festivals. There are currently 58 iridium servers which cater to the traffic and 10 more servers are to be added to meet up with the heavy traffic during peak hours. Passengers planning for their journey within a short notice can book tickets in mostly all Express trains through the e-portal of Indian Railways. Tatkal booking happens only one day before the departure of the concerned train from its first station.
There are some budget as well as luxury tourism travels both for the domestic and foreign tourists. A very popular budget tourism package which covers all the important destinations across India is Bharat Darshan. For the deluxe tourism packages, Palace on Wheels, Buddhist Circuit Train, Royal Rajasthan on Wheels etc. are exquisite services offered by the IRCTC. To book for the packaged tour on railways a tourist may log on to the online site www.railtourismindia.com. They offer all the other facilities like hotels, vehicles and cabs within the spots and also the tourist trains. All these services can be checked and availed online.
New Programs by IRCTC
The Launch of Railway Ticketing Using SMS Services
June 28th, 2013 announced the new program of the IRCTC- booking tickets with mobile phones, using the SMS. There were two numbers dedicated for this service- 139 and 5676714. This pilot project launched by the IRCTC is trying to help those passengers who easily get into the traps of touts and spend extra sum through illegal and unfair booking means. Using the USSD technology which is active on all mobile phones, the Indian railways is trying to make its rail services easier for the common people. This service will specially help those who do not have internet access or cannot use the internet services properly.
New Projects Under IRCTC
From being quality controlled, with customer centric objectives to being extremely sensitive about the changes required, there is a total requirement for IRCTC to be hygienic as well as environment friendly. The goal is to enhance the services with innovative marketing tricks. In this effort to maximize service efficiency with the help of public-private ventures,
IRCTC Works on Some Projects Like
The Food Service run by the Indian Railways
The plan is to set up multi-cuisine food plazas in various locations within this country. There have been sanctions of 50 plazas to be completed till now. These food outlets are going to be made on the latest trend, offering comfort and good ambiance. With 24 hour service, they would offer quality food at marginally low prices.
Rail Neer- The Bottled Drinking Water Facility
There is own brand of purified and bottled water of IRCTC, called Rail Neer. There are two purifying plants for this bottled water- one in Delhi and the other Danapur in Bihar.
The Passenger Trains of the Indian Railway
The catering services of IRCTC are provided on all passenger trains across India. The meals are provided according to order taken for each passenger (berth/seat). There is a separate facility of providing vegetarian or non-vegetarian food. This is keeping in mind the strict religious significance of the influence of food type in India. There are no separate dining cars in the train as food is served in individual seats instead. The food gets prepared in pantry car after being boarded from one of the set stations on-route and cooked further in the pantry. There are also private vendors selling packed snacks, tea, coffee and other eatables continuously during the journey.
Tourism Facilities of Indian Railway
There is a totally separate set of boarding, dining and lodging facility with the Indian railway tourism service. Serving A-La-Carte menu, which does not appear in the main menu, serving tea in kullads (earthen pots) and other Indian ethnic varieties has been in progress with the IRCTC for a considerable period now.
Indian Railway is believed to be the world’s busiest train services. With the largest number of employees and innumerable numbers of goods wagons, coaches and locomotives, the service offered and by the IR to the Indian people is phenomenal. With all its awards, efforts and management, the IRCTC is trying to meet up with the huge infrastructure that IR has on offer.
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