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IRCTC: Shining Example of e-Governance in India

There was a time when if you wanted a confirmed ticket on a train in India you needed to pay a bribe. I have heard many anecdotes on this, where you purchase a (Waitlisted) ticket and then contact “someone” in the railways to “help” to jump the queue. Reservation charts of trains were maintained by the means of entries made by hand in registers and whoever managed these registers was king. Then came CRIS and their CONCERT (computerization of reservation) which effectively ended the reign of above said “kings”. However, the citizen had to still queue up at PRS counters for tickets. Then came along IRCTC which almost certainly killed the entire “jumping the queue by influence” thing. I still remember railway officials saying “I can’t do anything, waiting list queue movement is all controlled by computer now. I will try to put you in Emergency Quota but that too I can’t confirm”. Sorry for quoting railway examples at every turning, but IRCTC is the shining example of true e-Governance in India. Performance of the portal aside, the Indian Railways would have tanked if it weren’t for the computerization process which made the railways and hence easy travel accessible to the public.

It also in one stroke took away powers, prestige and income of many a railway official who had great standing in society by being able to call in favors because they “helped” to move tickets up (or down) the Waiting List. This is what empowerment through e-Governance and e-Commerce should be all about, about relieving government employees of the discretionary power they have over ordinary citizens, which is what lead to much corruption as we see in India. But corruption can be eliminated only if e-Governance is implemented correctly and wholly, not half-baked as it is done now, like putting up PDF copies of application forms on ugly websites.

PS: CVC says Railway Employees are the most corrupt in India. That is only because the Railways has the most employees. And it would’ve been many times more if IRCTC were not there.

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