The air-conditioned chair car service of the Indian Railways had emerged as the only operationally profitable one of the national transporter, besides the traditionally profitable AC three-tier class, the CAG has said in its report.
This, in effect justifies the introduction of AC chair car trains like the Vande Bharat Express and the Tejas Express, which do not offer sleeper-class services, it has added.
"All classes of train services have incurred losses during 2016-17 except AC 3 Tier and AC Chair Car which could recover its operational cost and made profit," the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) said in the report tabled in Parliament on Monday.
The report said the percentage of loss in various classes of passenger services ranged from 13.60 (AC 2) to 80.27 (First Class). The loss on EMU Suburban train services was 64.74 per cent, it said.
From the 2012-13 fiscal to 2016-17, AC three-tier was the only category of service that made operational profits, according to the report.
The auditor also said one of the contributing factors for the non-recovery of the full cost from these classes was the free and concessional fare passes or tickets given to various beneficiaries in good numbers.
In the last three years, 11.45 per cent of reserved passengers had availed various types of concessions, the report said, adding that the railways had forgone about 8.42 per cent of reserved passenger earnings towards various concessions in the said period.
While 52.5 per cent of the concessions were given to senior citizens, 37.2 per cent was on account of concession to the Privilege Pass or PTO holders.
This was also the reason why the railways had restricted or completely forgone concessional tickets or discounts in trains such as the Vande Bharat Express, the Suvidha Express and the Humsafar Express, the CAG report said.
It also pointed out that some of these concessions were being misused. It had found out that over 3,000 passengers, born after Independence, had availed freedom fighter concessions.