Background & Operations:
As a Central Public Sector Enterprise wholly owned by the Government of India and under the administrative control of the Ministry of Railways, Indian Railway Catering & Tourism Corporation Ltd (IRCTC) is the only entity authorised by Indian Railways to provide catering services to railways, online railway tickets and packaged drinking water at railway stations and trains in India. It was incorporated with the objective to upgrade, modernize and professionalize catering and hospitality services, managing hospitality services at railway stations, on trains and other locations and to promote international and domestic tourism in India through public-private participation. It operates one of the most transacted websites, www.irctc.co.in, in the Asia-Pacific region with transaction volume averaging 25 to 28 million transactions per month during the five months ended August 31, 2019. It has also diversified into other businesses, including non-railway catering and services such as e-catering, executive lounges and budget hotels, which are in line with its objective to build a “one stop solution” for its customers. Currently, IRCTC operates in four business segments, namely, internet ticketing, catering, packaged drinking water under the “Rail Neer” brand, and travel and tourism:
Internet Ticketing: IRCTC is the only entity authorised by Indian Railways to offer railway tickets online through its website and mobile application. It currently operates one of the most transacted websites in the Asia-Pacific region with a transaction volume of more than 25 million per month and 7.2 million logins per day. The booking of railway tickets through the internet is now available 24 hours per day, 365 day per year, with the only exception being daily maintenance closure from 23:45 hours to 00:20 hours. The main objective behind the introduction of the internet ticketing was that instead of requiring passengers to be physically present at the Passenger Reservation System (PRS), the PRS should be brought to the door steps of passengers.
Catering: IRCTC provides food catering services to Indian Railway passengers on trains and at stations. On-board catering services are referred to as mobile catering and catering services at stations are referred to as static catering. It provides catering services through mobile catering units, base kitchens, cell kitchens, refreshment rooms, food plazas, food courts, train side vending, and Jan Ahaars over the Indian Railways network. All other catering units, such as refreshments rooms at stations categorised at B or below, AVMs, milk stalls, and trolleys are managed by zonal railways. IRCTC also offer e-catering services to passengers through its mobile application "Food on Track" and its e catering website, www.ecatering.irctc.co.in.
Packaged Drinking Water (Rail Neer): IRCTC is the only entity authorised by the Ministry of Railways to manufacture and distribute packaged drinking water at all railway stations and on trains, according to CRISIL. It manufactures and distribute packaged drinking water under brand “Rail Neer”. Currently, it operates ten Rail Neer plants located at Nangloi, Danapur, Palur, Ambernath, Amethi, Parassala, Bilaspur, Hapur, Ahmedabad and Bhopal, with an installed production capacity of approximately 1.09 million litres per day, which caters to approximately 45% of the current demand of packaged drinking water at railway premises and in trains. Travel and Tourism: It has been mandated by Indian Railways to provide tourism and travel related services. It has footprints in across all major tourism segments such as hotel bookings, rail, land, cruise and air tour packages and air ticket bookings, and are known as one of India's leading travel and tourism companies catering to the needs of diverse tourist segments. With the strength of being a CPSE under the administrative control of the Ministry of Railways, it specializes in rail tourism. It has an established track record of delivering strong annual returns to shareholders and its return on equity has exceeded 23% for each fiscal year since Fiscal 2017. It has been a profitable and debt free company since incorporation.
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