Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) is a subsidiary of the Indian Railways that handles the catering, tourism and online ticketing operations of the Indian railways. It’s tagline is ” Lifeline of the nation”.
It is known for changing the face of railway ticketing in India. It pioneered internet-based rail ticket booking through its website, as well as from the mobile phones via WiFi, GPRS or SMS. In addition to e-tickets, Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation also offers I-tickets that are basically like regular tickets except that they are booked online and delivered by post. The tickets PNR status is also made available. Commuters on the suburban rail can also book season tickets through the website. It has also launched a loyalty program called Shubh Yatra for frequent travelers. Through this program, passengers can avail of discounts on all tickets booked round the year by paying an upfront annual fee.
Seeking to make it easier to book e-tickets, It launched a scheme called Rolling Deposit Scheme (RDS). RDS is a hassle-free e-ticket booking scheme allowing passengers to reserve seats against advance money kept with the corporation. It has also added flights and hotels booking facilities to their line of online reservation services.
Under the Tatkal scheme, passengers who plan their journey at short notice can book their tickets in almost all Mail/Express trains through the Indian railways internet portal. The booking starts at 10:00 AM daily for AC coach reservation and for NON-AC timing is residual to 11.00 AM, one day prior to the departure of the train from source station. Tatkal E-ticket can be booked for selected trains one day in advance excluding date of journey from the train originating station. It can be booked on the opening day from 10:00 AM onwards for AC coach and 11:00 AM onwards for NON-AC. Passengers travelling on Tatkal tickets should carry a photo ID proof along with them to be shown to the ticket checker. Earlier this year, the website has launched Lite version which doesn’t include ads, pop ups, etc. and check pnr status.
Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation also organises budget and deluxe package tours for domestic and foreign tourists. A popular tourism package for budget tourists covering important tourist destinations across India is called “Bharat Darshan”. Luxury tourism packages are also available, that involve special luxury trains such as Buddhist Circuit Train and Maharajas’ Express operation.
Apart from conventional tourism, it also offers adventure tourism packages that include water sports, adventure and wildlife treks, etc. A provision for customising tours as per specific requirements is also an added attraction. Recently a new venture of Indian Railways, named as Rail Tourism India has been launched to provide direct catering and tourism packages to users.
As a biggest e-commerce portal in India, it made lot of records.
Within short span of its going online, it had become the largest and the fastest-growing e-commerce website in the Asia-Pacific region, with about six lakh registered users as of 2013.
Some of the other awards won by Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation are: