Around three lakh berths remain unoccupied despite heavy demand. Waitlisted passengers get seats only if the confirmed berths in the pooled quota are cancelled.
To ensure better allocation of vacant seats on trains, the Ministry of Railways announced a facility to enable transfer of unoccupied berths. Berths that remain vacant at the originating station will be assigned to wait-listed passengers at the next and following stations, after the second reservation chart has been prepared.
This facility will help ensure that passengers from minor stations are given comfortable seats even during peak hours.
The new passenger reservation system will automatically assign the berth once the train leaves the originating station. The passenger waiting at the next station will receive an SMS with the details of the confirmed seat and coach number. The TTEs will be able to allocate vacant berths after departure to the following station only, based on the available quota for the train. The TTE can extend this allotment to the next station if no one occupies the vacant berth.
Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu also announced policies to encourage local ownership of catering units and endorsed the participation of women in the Railways.
Under the scheme to empower local vendors in rural areas, weightage will be given to district domicile holders for obtaining commercial licences at catering units in all railway stations. This move is expected to promote regional cuisine while securing the livelihoods of regional traders in districts across India.
A sub-quota of 33% of jobs in the reserved catering units will be set aside for women, in accordance with the railway budget announcement of 2016-17. This would allow women to run at least 8% of small catering units like carts and stalls in major railway stations, and operate 17% of such units in relatively smaller stations.
At present, 25% of jobs at catering units in stations are reserved for people under various categories such as SC, freedom fighters, BPL, physically challenged, etc.
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