Indian Railways Displays Reservation Charts and Vacant Berths Online: Digital India Farce

Indian Railways has made the reservation charts for all trains public on the IRCTC website. The passengers do not need to run behind the TTE for vacant berths on trains. This is a big step aimed at ensuring greater transparency and eliminating on ground corruption. Based on the information of seat availability, passengers will be able to approach the TTE on board for ticket booking.

The above has been circulated by Indian Railways as a press release. Indian Media has dutifully carried what has been given to them, no questions raised. The Government has patted itself on the back for the Digital India initiative. There is no discussion in the general public who actually travels by train. The elite and the privileged that controls the media narrative travels by air, so anyways they would not be bothered.

One critical look at the so-called digital passenger-friendly initiative and you will realize there are so many loop-holes that the entire elephant of Government’s corruption continues to pass through.

Reservation charts on the coach v/s reservation charts on the internet

Indian Railways claims that reservation charts have been made public. What is more public and user-friendly – A hard copy of paper on the coach that anyone, who is literate, can access and read or a soft copy on the small screen of the mobile that you have to continuously scroll through and need a smartphone to access?

The government has created further barriers to information that was freely available by making walls of smartphone a necessity. Do Indian Railways expect every passenger to carry a smartphone? In that case, why not shut down manual ticket booking counters and make ticket booking on IRCTC compulsory?

Your call on what is a better democratizing experience?

The passengers do not need to run behind the TTE for vacant berths on trains

Even with hard copies of reservation charts on each coach, passengers had to run behind TTE and bribe them. Now, with a soft copy available, what is so earth-shatteringly different that there is no need for passengers to run behind the TTE?

With reservation charts on the internet, are TTE now expected to identify wait-listed passengers, run behind them and beg them to take empty berths? I suppose not.

What has materially changed that passengers need not run behind the TTE with this new stuff? Your guess is as good as mine.

A big step aimed at ensuring greater transparency and eliminating on ground corruption

This is the most nauseating statement in the entire nonsense. The government converts hard copy to soft copy, reduces the access, and makes a holier-than-thou statement that it will ensure transparency and eliminate on ground corruption.

If Indian Railways, that is Government of India, wants to remove the blood of bribery innate in its culture, why not remove the TTE? What is the need for this creature going around since the days of Mahatma Gandhi in South Africa?

I have written a detailed note on what can be done to remove the bane of a corrupt TTE – everlasting memory of a train journey.

Graphical representation of the train coaches along with berth-wise accommodation status

This is another lip service. The point to be noted is that graphical representation is shown only after chart preparation, and not at the time of ticket booking, the window for which opens four months in advance.

If Indian Railways is serious about passenger convenience, why not show this information upfront? Rather, showing it later when it is of no use to anyone.


Online display of reservation charts and vacant berths is another example of the farcical Digital India initiative. It just supplants hard copy with a soft copy, further reduction in access, and claims to be a game-changer.

Nothing has changed, and in this particular case, nothing will ever change till the time the corrupt edifice of TTE is dismantled and done away with by perpetual loss-making Indian Railways.

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