The Union government has claimed that it is offering an 85% subsidy for Shramik trains being run to transport stranded migrants back to their home states.

However, an analysis of the numbers shows this is not true. On the contrary, states are being charged excess ticket prices when compared to the railway’s own notified fare chart.

The 85% subsidy is a hypothetical concept that imagines a model that only has passenger trains and includes the entire cost of railways infrastructure as well as employee wages. Moreover, this 85% number has not been confirmed by any independent audit.

It is also unclear for which base fare this figure has been calculated. The fare of a mail/express train is itself 80% higher than that of a local/passenger train. Moreover, even in a mail/express train, fares of different classes are different. For example, the base fare for a 501 km journey in any mail/express train would be:

Class

Fare for a 501 km journey
General class
Rs 151
Sleeper class Rs 276
AC chair car Rs 577
AC three-tier sleeper Rs 733
AC two-tier sleeper Rs 1,058
First-class air conditioned Rs 1,794

To add to this, additional costs such as reservation charge would also apply as per the class of travel. For example, gross...

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