Chief Minister Shri Arvind Kejriwal wrote a letter to Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi strongly appealing to restore the 50% concession for senior citizens that was being provided by the Indian Railways earlier. Stressing on the importance of the concession, the CM explained that just as the Delhi government does not go bankrupt by spending 50 crores on the the free pilgrimage scheme for the elderly, similarly the Central government will not go bankrupt by spending 1600 crores from its budget of 45 lakh crores on concession for senior citizens in rail travel.
The CM also tweeted about the letter saying, “Please do not stop the concession given to the elderly in the railways. Crores of elderly people are benefiting from this concession,” he wrote. The Central Government had stopped this concession that had been given to the senior citizens for several years now, during the nationwide lockdown in 2020.
In his letter, Shri Arvind Kejriwal said that it is because of the sacrifice of our elders that this country has reached where it is currently in the world. He added that without the blessings of the senior citizens the country cannot progress in any sphere of life.
He pointed out how the Delhi Government had implemented schemes to aid the quality of lives of the senior citizens of the National Capital. “In Delhi, we have the Mukhyamantri Teerth Yatra scheme under which the state government pays for the travel, food and lodging expenses of the senior citizens and the scheme provides incredible happiness to them. It is because of the blessings of these happy senior citizens that Delhi today is progressing at a rapid pace,” he said.
Shri Arvind Kejriwal also said that the reason cited by the Central Government to stop the scheme was its financial implications and he said that in reality this does not make any sense. “Monetary constraints cannot be the reason for stopping this concession. This is about intentions. By paying Rs 50 crore for the Mukhyamantri Teerth Yatra scheme from its annual state budget of Rs 70,000 crore, the Delhi Government does not become poor. The Central Government recently cited in the Lok Sabha that it was spending Rs 1600 crore on the railway concession for senior citizens. The Budget presented by the Central Government this year was of Rs 45 lakh crore. This cost of the railway concession is just a drop in the ocean,” he said.
He added that by saving such a small amount of money by inconveniencing crores the elderly will not be beneficial to the country. “By saving Rs 1600 crore annually in such a manner, the Central Government will not become rich. Nor will it become poor by spending this amount on our elderly citizens,” he said. He said that the scrapping of this concession sends a message to the senior citizens that the Central Government does not care about their well-being. He added that such a message was against the culture of the country.
He further added that many senior citizens across the country have told him that rail concession meant a great deal to them and since it had been stopped, they had been facing trouble in their railway travel. He concluded by strongly urging the BJP-led Central Government to restore the concession so that in times of high inflation, the senior citizens will not have to think twice before undertaking their necessary travel.