Considering the Rs 20 crore lying in the Indian Rail Catering and Tourism Corporation’s (IRCTC) account, which is supposed to be returned to the passengers cancelling their long-distance journeys, it would not be inappropriate to blame this accumulation on a sloppy protocol currently adhered to by the IRCTC and the Indian Railways.

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The protocol
Every time a passenger books a ticket using the IRCTC website, the money spent on purchasing tickets is deposited with the Indian Railways.

However, in case of a cancellation, IRCTC is responsible for verifying a passenger’s claim for refund and inform the railway authorities accordingly, who then transfer the said amount into the IRCTC’s account.

From here the amount is passed on to the rightful claimant. At present, the entire process takes anywhere between seven to 20 days.

To tackle the issue, a high-level meeting was held between the IRCTC, Western and Central Railway officials earlier this month. Sources claimed that all the parties claimed to receive myriad complaints about the delay in receiving refunds. They also agreed that the occurrence of delay was an unfair practise.

“When a booking can be done immediately, then there is no reason why refund should take time. We have asked the IRCTC to sort out the issue at the earliest,” said a senior railway officer.

IRCTC officials on the other hand claimed that they have initiated the process of ironing out the glitches delaying the refund process.

“We are working towards improving the software, for which Rs 60 lakh is being spent. This will help us improve the system, which is currently being tested. Even the mobile app, IRCTC Connect, will be refined to make it user-friendly,” said Dr AK Manoch, chairman and managing director, IRCTC.