Tatkal or the art of mastering pervasive socialist shortage
A new Tatkal scheme was announced today amidst much fanfare by the Minister of State for Railways Shri Muniyappa. It features clever and innovative checks to thwart misuse. Keep in mind that “misuse” in this context means, purchasing a train ticket to go from City A to City B paying above normal rates.
- Can book from 10AM instead of 8AM
- Separate counters for Tatkal, or some counters will exclusively accept Tatkal from 10 to 10:30
- Agents only allowed after 12PM
- Bandwidth increased from 325 to 424 MBPS
- Only 2 tickets per IP address, this is to thwart many people from same company booking or internet cafes.
- CCTV Cameras will be installed at all booking counters to check agents
- No cellphones allowed near booking counters.
- If someone is booking on your behalf, your self attested ID as well as a Xerox and original or the person booking has to be produced.
- Cash card stopped between 10AM-12PM
- Single session per login has been implemented. If you use your ID once and book a ticket you are done for the day. Read this in conjunction with IP Address check, you cant go to another desk and book again.
- IT Anti Fraud squad has been created at major centres, constant network surveillance is put in place to detect misuse.
Source : Desh Gujarat
This just blows my mind. Lost in this hairball is the fact that these people are not trying to do anything illegal. They just want to go home. Essentially this is a massive failure of the state run Railways to live up to the demand of the people. The whole Tatkal scheme is an machine designed to place a logistical and monetary hurdle and discourage people from even trying to travel by train. Even if many say “f** it I am taking the bus”, the overflow numbers are so huge that Indians are forced to innovate to get a ticket. Touts are mere vehicles that provide the much needed service for a markup.
The socialist state does not even recognize an equilibrium state of demand and supply. The supply is the plan and bizzarro schemes like Tatkal complete with CCTV cameras are used to squeeze out the demand. Fit the plan, not plan the fit.
It has gotten so bad that people sometimes look at me crazy when I say I came by Train on 2 weeks notice. How did you manage a ticket ?