The Indian Railways’ e-catering service, which delivers food to train passengers, broke even in 2019-20, according to a Lok Sabha reply filed by the Ministry of Railways in response to a question filed by BJP MPs Geetaben Rathva, Jasvantsinh Bhabhor, Parbatbhai Patel, Naranbhai Kachhadia and Shantanu Thakur. Under the e-catering service, the IRCTC delivers meals ordered through its mobile app and website.

The IRCTC earned ₹8.63 crore — likely in convenience fees from orders from partnered third parties — in the Financial Year 2019-20, with an expenditure of ₹6.47 crore, a ₹2.16 crore profit.

Source: Ministry of Railways, via Lok Sabha

“Reputed delivery aggregators have been roped in to facilitate smooth delivery of food,” the ministry said. There remains a lot of room for growth though; less than 1% of the Railways’ 23 million daily passengers place orders for food delivery through e-catering:

Source: Ministry of Railways, via Lok Sabha

With the COVID-19 pandemic, e-catering services have been stopped, and the revenue in this financial year is likely to reduce drastically.

In 2019, IRCTC sued TravelKhana for “unauthorised” meal delivery, though the company had been an IRCTC partner. TravelKhana in a statement said it suspected that “vested interests” in the IRCTC food supply value chain were sabotaging it. IRCTC also has partnerships with KFC, Domino’s, and Pizza Hut for food delivery in 325 train stations.