Indian Railway Catering & Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), which manages the online rail ticketing for the Indian Railways, announced that it has taken several additional steps to streamline Tatkal ticket bookings. This follows the Minister of State for Railways, K. H. Muniyappa’s statement last week, that the ticketing capacity of the IRCTC website is being increased from 350,000 per day to 500,000 per day within four months, with the long term goal of reaching 800,000 tickets per day and the booking time of Tatkal tickets being revised to start at 10AM from 8 AM, both through Internet and offline ticket counters to avoid congestion.

This statement was prompted by the criticism on the performance of IRCTC’s online ticketing website, and allegations that a daily 4-5 minute downtime was orchestrated in order to help touts book Tatkal tickets. IRCTC states that it is working with Centre for Railway Information Systems (CRIS) for these initiatives and among the steps that have been implemented include:

On the Hardware side: IRCTC has installed high capacity database servers and increased the Internet bandwidth from 344 Mbps to 450 Mbps.

On the Software side: It has implemented single user registration on one email address with email verification and one mobile number. An IRCTC user can now open only a single session per user ID to book e-tickets, thereby reducing congestion on the website and allowing maximum users to access the website. The organization has also implemented Captchas for booking through ‘Plan My Travel’ and has stopped Quick Book and Cash Cards option between 10AM -12 PM. Also, users can now book only two tickets per IP address between 10 AM – 12 PM, noting that this step will help the organization in preventing multiple bookings from the same office/Internet cafe and facilitate genuine bookings.

Policies: Agents will now be allowed to book only one Tatkal ticket per train per day on the website after 12 PM and Individual users will be allowed to book only two tickets between 10 AM – 12 PM. IRCTC has also set up an Anti-IT Fraud Squad to detect fraud cases and fraudulent activity as well as constant cyberspace surveillance against possible threats against the system. Further, user IDs of sub-agents against whom the organization receives a complaint, will be deactivated and the sub-agent will be blacklisted. Details of such sub-agents will also be put up on the IRCTC website and IRCTC has instructed its principal agents not to take on these agents.


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