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The rail ministry today launched a new debit card service for ticket bookings by passengers. The RuPay pre-paid card service has been developed by Indian Railways Tourism and Catering (IRCTC) along with Union Bank of India (UBI) and the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI).
The card will be available on IRCTC website or UBI branches and will be initially used to buy tickets. The scope of the card service will be later expanded to include facilities for shopping and bill payments.
"This card is the first of its kind in the market where both virtual as well as physical cards are being issued to the customer in two variants with loading limits of Rs 10,000 and Rs 50,000," the ministry announced.
RuPay is India's domestic card payment gateway network develop on the lines of Visa and Master Card and provides an alternative system for banks to provide debit card service. Rail minister Suresh Prabhu hailed the move as a major step in railways' partnership with banks and financial institutions for improved passenger services. "It is a union with your bank for customers' interest," he said while launching the card in a ceremony in Rail Bhawan today.
Railways will not charge any transaction charge for the first five transactions on every card every month done on IRCTC for purchase of tickets for the first six months. For every subsequent transaction post the free usage, customer will be charged Rs 10 per transaction. This Prepaid card may be targeted for use at IRCTC, tourism, e-catering and schools and colleges where there is a requirement of cash card for cashless transactions.
Prabhu also launched a perishable cargo centre at the Adarsh Nagar station near Azadpur Sabzi Mandi in Delhi. The cargo centre, announced in this year's budget speech, will be operated by Container Corporation (CONCOR) as part of its coal-chain initiative.
"Ripening of fruits and cold storage facilities at this cargo centre will help farmers get a good price and good market for their product," Prabhu said. He added the cargo centre, developed at a cost of Rs 10 crore, will help reduce the wastages Indian agriculture is suffering from because of absence of proper cold chain facilities.
The facility will offer washing and cleaning of raw banana and ripening-cum-cold rooms for fruits including banana and mango at competitive rates. The setting up of the cargo centre by CONCOR is expected to encourage similar facilities in the private sector, the ministry said.